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Hastert adamant on remaining Speaker

Oct. 5, 2006 at 1:25 PM

CHICAGO, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., says he has party support to retain his position in the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal involving House pages.

In a telephone interview with the Chicago Tribune, Hastert lashed out at Democrats and ABC News, which broke the story last Friday about Foley's various suggestive communications with underage congressional pages over several years.

"The people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC News and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by (liberal activist) George Soros," Hastert told the Tribune.

Hastert questioned the timing of the news report, just five weeks before the midterm congressional elections, and said as speaker, he was obliged to carry on. Hastert scheduled a lunchtime news conference outside his district office.

"Something like this, I take the responsibility. The buck stops where I'm at," he told the Tribune. "When we found out, we dealt with it immediately and the member is gone. ... We have reached out to experts to make sure that it never happens again."

Foley, who represented a southern Florida district, resigned Friday and entered an alcohol rehab clinic Monday.

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