Interviewed by Rush Limbaugh today, House Speaker Hastert said Mark Foley’s inappropriate behavior was “a political issue” and promised Rush that “we are going on offense.”
The “offense” is an effort to portray the scandal as a conspiracy specifically timed by liberals to affect the elections. “We are the insulation to protect this country,” Hastert declared, “and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well”:
SPEAKER HASTERT: There were two pieces of paper out there, one that we knew about and we acted on; one that happened in 2003 we didn’t know about, but somebody had it, and, you know, they’re trying — and they drop it the last day of the session, you know, before we adjourn on an election year. Now, we took care of Mr. Foley. We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He’s gone. We asked for an investigation. We’ve done that. We’re trying to build better protections for these page programs.
But, you know, this is a political issue in itself, too, and what we’ve tried to do as the Republican Party is make a better economy, protect this country against terrorism — and we’ve worked at it ever since 9/11, worked with the president on it — and there are some people that try to tear us down. We are the insulation to protect this country, and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well.
Full transcript here.