TIME and NYT Find "Smoking Gun": Abramoff in Background of White House Picture

The American media have been in full lather over the existence of pictures containing former lobbyist Jack Abramoff with President George W. Bush. TIME magazine published the first such “evidence of a White House connection” at its website on Saturday, with The New York Times following suit on Sunday. TIME reported: “Now, finally, the first such photo has come to light. It shows a bearded Abramoff in the background as Bush greets an Abramoff client, Raul Garza, who was then the chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas; Bush senior advisor Karl Rove looks on. The photograph was provided to TIME by Mr. Garza.” The Times said: “By itself, the picture hardly seems worthy of the White House's efforts to keep it out of the public eye. Mr. Abramoff, a leading Republican fund-raiser who pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to corrupt public officials, is little more than a blurry, bearded figure in the background at a gathering of about two dozen people.”

After that statement, the Times became more conspiratorial:

“But it provides a window, albeit an opaque one, into Mr. Abramoff's efforts to sell himself to Indian tribes as a man of influence who could open the most secure doors in Washington to them. And it 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.”

Actually, this doesn’t appear all that nefarious as TIME explained:

This meeting, however, was a relatively small gathering attended by some two dozen people, including Garza and another Indian tribal leader who was Abramoff's client. At least two tribes, the Coushatta of Louisiana and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, contributed $25,000 each to the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, which is headed by Grover Norquist, a well-known conservative ally of the White House.”

And, the Times included in the final paragraph of its story: “It is not clear how Mr. Abramoff might have gotten Mr. Garza included in the president's meeting. White House records show the meeting was also attended by Grover Norquist, a friend of Mr. Abramoff's who is a leading conservative strategist and president of the group Americans for Tax Reform, which was helping to rally support for Mr. Bush's tax cuts.”

Well, folks, though it seems that most reporters have a hard time adding one plus one and coming up with two when it doesn’t fit their agenda, let’s see if this can be easily cleared up:

  • The President campaigned on tax cuts
  • Grover Norquist runs an anti-tax group
  • Some Indian tribes contributed money to Norquist’s group
  • Norquist got an invite to discuss such issues with the president, and brought some of his contributors  

OH the HUMANITY! Now, taking this forward, the president has said that he doesn't remember meeting Abramoff. In addition, the White House has admitted to the existence of pictures of the two. Herein is a picture with one man, who's name is NOT Abramoff, shaking hands with the president. In the distance is a man who's name IS Abramoff, not shaking hands with the president.

Some smoking gun!

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.