Photos show Bush, Abramoff buddy-buddy


    Although President Bush says he doesn’t recall meeting convicted
    lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the two have turned up in photos
    together, confirming an exclusive story printed last week in Capitol Hill Blue.

    Both Washingtonian and Time magazines have reported the existence of about a half-dozen photos showing the two together. Capitol Hill Blue reported on January 18 that Abramoff kept an autographed photo of he and Bush in his office.

    Time
    reported on its Web site Sunday that its staff members have seen at
    least six photos featuring Bush and Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to
    federal charges stemming from his lobbying practices and has pledged to
    cooperate with investigators. They appeared to have been taken at White
    House functions, according to the reports.

    The White House has
    acknowledged that Abramoff attended some events at the Executive
    Mansion, and spokeswoman Dana Perino said Sunday it’s not surprising
    that the two would have met.

    “The president has taken tens upon thousands of pictures at such events,” Perino said.

    Abramoff
    met a few times with White House staff and attended Hanukkah receptions
    in 2001 and 2002, the White House has said, but officials there have
    refused to disclose how many times he’s been into the complex or what
    business he had there.

    The White House also has not released any
    photos featuring the president and Abramoff, who was declared a Bush
    “pioneer” for raising at least $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney ’04
    re-election campaign.

    Contributions that came directly from
    Abramoff, his wife and one of the American Indian tribes he represented
    _ a total of $6,000 _ were donated to the American Heart Association by
    the campaign just days after Abramoff entered his guilty pleas.

    The
    White House, after playing down the Bush-Abramoff photos and the
    lobbyist’s ties to the president, criticized Abramoff for breaking the
    law. “Mr. Abramoff admitted being involved in outrageous wrongdoing,”
    Perino said.