- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

3:09 p.m.

STOCKTON, Calif. — President Bush today said that he supports House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s call for an investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley and that he was “dismayed and shocked” at the disgraced ex-congressman’s behavior.

“I know Denny Hastert. I meet with him a lot. He is a father, teacher, coach, who cares about the children of this country,” Mr. Bush told reporters after he toured the George W. Bush elementary school in Stockton this morning.

The president said he was “disgusted by the revelations” concerning Mr. Foley, a six-term Republican who resigned his seat last week after revelations that he had sent inappropriate e-mails and instant text messages to boys in the House of Representatives page program.

Mr. Hastert, Illinois Republican, has been besieged since the news broke, defending himself against accusations that he was made aware of some of Mr. Foley’s behavior and didn’t take steps to investigate.

Mr. Hastert said yesterday that the e-mail he was told about had nothing explicit and that the panel that runs the page program investigated and told Mr. Foley to stop contacting that boy. He has asked federal authorities and officials in Florida, where Mr. Foley resides, to see if the ex-congressman broke any laws and can be prosecuted.

Mr. Bush yesterday agreed that Mr. Foley should be prosecuted if he broke the law.

The president is in California campaigning, and while he didn’t mention the Foley issue during his speech here this morning, he tied it to other brief remarks on school violence during his tour of this school, named for him.

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said they were waiting to see what the FBI’s preliminary investigation would show, but he made it clear that the White House is going to let Republican leaders in Congress sort through the matter.

“The House has to clean up the mess, to the extent that there’s a mess,” Mr. Snow said. “The president is not responsible for going back and conducting his own personal investigation on this. The House has an obligation, and House members, I think, are talking pretty vociferously about this on both sides of the aisle.”

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