WASHINGTON (AP-Instead of trying to distance himself from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, President George W. Bush instead praised the felon, saying that "corruption is good for Washington and Israel and makes the world go round."
Abramoff pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that he bribed public officials and their aides in exchange for official favors, and the bribery/corruption probe has caused an ongoing uproar in Washington. He will now fully cooperate and reveal all of his sleazy dealings in Washington and the White House.
"Jack is a really great guy, and I'd never have been elected and re-elected without him," added Bush. "What's all the fuss about here? So what if those bribes led to 9/11 and made me illegally invade Iraq? Exxon Mobil and other oil companies have gotten a lot of Iraqi oil out of the deal and it really boosted their profits, too. Corruption is good for Republicans and the oil industry too."
Bush also announced that his re-election campaign will only donate $6,000 out of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he received from Abramoff to charity.
The Bush-Cheney campaign is thus returning only a tiny fraction of the campaign contributions it received from Abramoff. During the 2004 campaign, Abramoff was the top fund-raiser and bagman for the Bush-Cheney re-election effort, raising more than $400,000 for that campaign, and far more than that for their original 2000 election campaign.
In sharp contrast, members of Congress are desperately trying to distance themselves from the corrupt lobbyist, and have given up over $300,000 of the millions of dollars in contributions tied to him in recent weeks. These include House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former House majority leader Tom DeLay.
An Orthodox Jew, Abramoff was the key intermediary between Jewish groups and the Bush campaign, and they worked heavily to determine Bush's foreign policy with their bribes and voting bloc. When fund-raising began for Bush's election efforts, Rabbi Danny "The Dime" Lappin, a prominent radio host, urged friends and colleagues to steer big campaign checks to Bush and Cheney via Abramoff.
Abramoff's links to the administration extend well beyond dirty campaign checks and bribes. In 2001, Bush chose him to be a member of his Presidential Transition Team. Abramoff's former top aide Suzy Rollover currently serves as the top aide to Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove, the president's closest political adviser who many consider to be Bush's brain.
Bush was also a close friend of the lobbyist and met him at the White House frequently for fund-raising functions and Chanukah parties.In an interview last month, Bush described Abramoff as a "money machine" who personally wrote big checks to Republicans and set the course of his Administration.
In response to the latest Republican charges, Senator John Kerry said "Keep talking, Abramoff, you too Frist and DeLay.You guys are the best thing on earth for those of us who want relief from your entire corrupt Administration."
A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll taken last month found that 79% of those surveyed said "most Republicans are corrupt." Specifically, those polled said "almost all" Republicans are corrupt, compared with only 24% of Democrats.