The White House maintains that Bush does not “recall” meeting Abramoff and, if they ever did meet, it was only in passing at a large gathering:
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, I said it’s possible that they would have met at a holiday reception or some other widely attended gathering. The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.
Q But he has the special designation as a Pioneer, as Terry was alluding to, raising more than $100,000. And he attended, as you told us, three events, holiday receptions at the White House. How likely is it that the President would not have met him —
MR. McCLELLAN: That’s why I said it’s possible. But I just told you what I know at this point, and the President doesn’t recall meeting him and he certainly doesn’t know him.
It’s not just possible, it happened.
The Texas Observer reports that Abramoff met with Bush on May 9, 2001, with his clients, the Coushatta tribe. (The chairman of the Coushatta tribe initially denied the meeting occured, but subsequently admitted that it did.) Abramoff charged his client 25,000 to arrange the meeting.