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Somebody’s lying and someone has to find out who

House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office may have learned of ex-Rep. Mark Foley’s inappropriate conduct toward male pages in 2002, 2003 or 2005, depending on who is telling the story.

This week, the House’s internal investigators are starting to sort it all out.

Kirk Fordham, Foley’s one-time chief of staff, is scheduled for questioning Thursday before a House ethics committee investigative panel. He said he notified Hastert chief of staff Scott Palmer in 2002 or 2003 about Foley’s inappropriate conduct, and that he subsequently learned that Palmer met with Foley.

Republicans sinking under weight of Iraq, scandals

President George W. Bush and Republicans are sinking under the weight of the Iraq war and the Capitol Hill sex scandal, according to a flurry of polls, endangering their control of Congress in the November 7 elections.

Democrats hold a growing advantage heading into the final four weeks of the campaign, with analysts moving more Republican-held seats into the high-risk category and improving the odds of Democrats seizing control of at least the House of Representatives.

Time for truth

For decades, America’s elected public servants have paid great lip service to the grand political principle of hearing and heeding the vox populi.

And for decades, America’s politicians had little trouble doing this. Because in election after election, the voice of the people has been loud and clear: “Please lie to me!”

Records link Pombo with disgraced lobbyist Abramoff

California Rep. Richard Pombo has insisted he was never lobbied by Jack Abramoff. Records show the disgraced lobbyist billed a client for at least two contacts with Pombo a decade ago.

The lobbying records released by the Northern Mariana Islands show that Abramoff billed once for calls to Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, and a second time for a discussion with him, while lobbying in 1996.

Hastert meets with evangelist who demands he quit

House Speaker Dennis Hastert met Tuesday with an evangelist who hoped to persuade the Illinois Republican to step down because of the congressional page sex scandal.

Hastert had no comment after the meeting at his home in Plano, Illinois, with Christian evangelist K.A. Paul, founder of the Global Peace Initiative who is best known as a spiritual adviser to Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president in jail awaiting trial before a war crimes tribunal.

Voter interest at highest level in more than a decade

Politics is a water-cooler topic, a dinner-table subject, an issue to discuss after Sunday services, and this year the interest of American voters is at its highest level in more than a decade.

That renewed attention could translate into higher voter turnout on Nov. 7, according to an Associated Press-Pew poll.

Seventy percent say they are talking politics with family and friends, and 43 percent are debating the issues at work. Among churchgoers, 28 percent share their political views, a number that rises to 34 percent among the congregations in the South.

Ohmigod! Drill sergeants ordered to be warm & cuddly

Hollywood may have to tone down its portrayal of the military’s screaming, in-your-face boot camp drill sergeant. In today’s Army, shouting is out and a calmer approach to molding young minds is in, says the head of Pentagon personnel. The Army says it has reduced by nearly 7 percent the number of recruits who wash out in the first six to 12 months of military life.

“Part of it is changing the nature of how it treats people in basic training,” David S. Chu, undersecretary for personnel and readiness, said Tuesday.

Hastert starts looking for scapegoats on his staff

The Republican head of the U.S. House of Representatives said on Tuesday anyone who covered up a growing Internet sex scandal on Capitol Hill should step down.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert made the comment as Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, Congress’ only openly gay Republican, confirmed he was told six years ago of inappropriate Internet messages from former Republican Rep. Mark Foley to a young male former House aide.

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