A defiant House Speaker Dennis Hastert fought Wednesday to hold on to his leadership post while fractures appeared among his lieutenants and a former senior aide to Mark Foley said he repeatedly had warned Hastert's top aide about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward underage pages more than two years ago.
In an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday night, Hastert said he had no thoughts of resigning and he blamed ABC News and Democratic operatives for the mushrooming scandal that threatens his tenure as speaker and Republicans' hold on power in the House. [...]
When asked about a groundswell of discontent among the GOP's conservative base over his handling of the issue, Hastert said in the phone interview: "I think the base has to realize after a while, who knew about it? Who knew what, when? When the base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy. The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by [liberal activist] George Soros."
He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof.
"All I know is what I hear and what I see," the speaker said. "I saw Bill Clinton's adviser, Richard Morris, was saying these guys knew about this all along. If somebody had this info, when they had it, we could have dealt with it then."
Hastert said he had spoken with former President George H.W. Bush, whom he described as "very supportive." He also said he had not spoken to President Bush.
Responsibility and accountability are fucking bitches, aren't they, Denny?