House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made no mention of tapping former FBI director Louis Freeh to lead an investigation into misconduct with House pages in a press conference moments ago, saying instead that he'd reached out to Pelosi to "share some ideas."
The move had been reported earlier by Roll Call. Shortly before Hastert's press conference, MSNBC reported that when the Speaker told the idea to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), "Pelosi said that's not good enough. We don't want an overhaul of the page program; we need a more thorough investigation."
In his statement, Hastert said he was "looking for a person of high caliber" to lead a probe into the matter. "I have reached out to the Democratic Leader," Hastert said, "and we hope to resolve this soon."
"I'm deeply sorry this has happened," Hastert told reporters assembled outside his Illinois district office, apparently referring to the Foley scandal. "Our system obviously isn't designed for this electronic age of instant messages."
He insisted he and other GOP leaders "dealt with it immediately." He reiterated his claim that he first learned of the matter last Friday.
Still, he admitted, there was room for improvement. "Could we have handled it better? Could the page board have handled it better? In retrospect probably, yes."
In response to a reporter's query, Hastert said he wasn't stepping down. "I'm going to run and presumably win in this election, and when I do, I expect to run" for the House Speaker's seat.
The House Speaker used his responses to reporters' questions to reiterate GOP successes at the end of this congressional session; take a shot at former GOP aide Kirk Fordham, who says he told Hastert's staff in 2003 about Foley's problems; and insinuate that the Democrats had created the scandal because they didn't have a message to win the elections.
We'll be posting video of the news conference soon.