Sometimes the symbols of reality obscure reality. Whether there are one or five or a hundred pictures of President Bush and Jack Abramoff is really beside the point. What is the point is this line from President Bush from yesterday's press conference: "You know, I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don't know him."
Even discounting for the inherent squishiness of the language, that's just a lie.
Doesn't know him? Please. Like most successful politicians President Bush has a knack for remembering names and faces. On top of that, well ... let's set aside the fact that Abramoff was apparently a frequent attendee at White House staff planning meetings, seeded the administration with a bunch of his former employees, and so forth.
Let's just focus on a few key facts.
For the first three years of Bush's presidency Abramoff was arguably the most wired Republican lobbyist in Washington.
Bush doesn't know him?
Abramoff was a long time associate of one of the president's top political advisors, Grover Norquist and his chief political guru Karl Rove.
Bush never made his acquaintance?
Every Republican power player in Washington knew Jack Abramoff. Many of them knew him very, very well. But President Bush never knew him? Their paths never crossed?
That is simply ridiculous.
What's more, everyone asking the questions knows it's ridiculous. The problem is that absent a 2+2=5 type statement they fon't feel comfortable calling the president out as a liar.
Pictures in themselves don't mean much. There are pictures of the president with people he knew far less well than Jack Abramoff, people he really never knew at all. But when those pictures of Abramoff and the president slip into public view, the lie will simply become unsustainable. They know that.
And that's why the White House is turning the city upside down doing everything in its power to insure they never see the light of day.