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BREAKING: First Abramoff/Bush Photo Published

By Judd Legum on February 11, 2006 at 4:25 pm

"BREAKING: First Abramoff/Bush Photo Published"

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In the picture, President Bush is talking with Chief Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of southwest Texas. The New York Times, which published the photo, reports:

[The picture] leaves unanswered questions about how Mr. Abramoff and the tribal leader, whom he was trying to sign as a client, gained access to a meeting with the president on the White House grounds that was ostensibly for a group of state legislators who were supporting Mr. Bush’s 2001 tax cut plan.

The photo of Abramoff with Bush at a private meeting undermines White House claims that any meetings between the two occured at “widely attended” holiday parties. The White House has confirmed the picture’s authenticity.

UPDATE: Time Magazine has more details on the meeting:

Talking about the photo, Abramoff has told friends, “I was standing right next to the window and after the picture was taken, the President came over and shook hands with me, and we chatted and joked.” A photograph of that scene as described by Abramoff was shown to TIME two weeks ago.

The TIME article also features a color version of the photo where Karl Rove is visible. It leads with a discussion of the Abramoff email, first published by ThinkProgress.

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