Hastert's Speaker position appears safe

Jan. 17, 2006 at 12:11 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- While Republicans position themselves for a run at U.S. House leadership posts, the position of Speaker Dennis Hastert appears safe.

A series of embarrassments -- including indictment of a sitting member of Congress, resignations from the House because of scandals and the linkage of Republicans to lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- have set off speculation the party needs to change its House leadership.

Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said he would not try to get his majority leader's spot back, setting off a scurry among Republicans seeking the post.

But Hastert, R-Ill., despite being close to DeLay and a beneficiary of an Abramoff-linked fundraiser, seems to have weathered the storm, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., told the newspaper he is among those looking for leadership changes, except "we totally support Speaker Hastert."

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer, whose group tracks money in politics, told the Post: "What these scandals are revolving around is a way of life that does not appear to be Hastert's way of life. That may be the principal reason why these scandal does not inure to him."

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