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The Blotter I

NBC's Mark Potter reports that Foley attorney David Roth said of Foley at a news conference yesterday, "He is absolutely, positively not a pedophile."  Roth also said Foley is an alcoholic in his private life, not in public, and that Foley never had any inappropriate sexual contact with a minor.  Per Roth, as of yesterday afternoon, they had not been contacted yet by the FBI or other law enforcement agencies.

Foley could become a casualty of a federal law he helped create, notes the Miami Herald.  In "an ironic twist, federal laws championed by Foley himself make it a crime in some circumstances to use the Internet to persuade, induce or entice someone under 18 to engage in sexual activity."

Foley's interest in younger men didn't come as a surprise to some on the Hill: "In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, several current and former congressional employees and others said they recalled Foley approaching young male pages, aides and interns at parties and other venues." 

One former page tells the Palm Beach Post that he and other pages were not explicitly warned about Foley's behavior. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be in Florida today for Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D), whose district isn't far from Foley's.  A Pelosi aide suggests to First Read that the Leader will say more of what she's been saying about the Foley affair, asking why more wasn't done to protect House pages and calling for House GOP leaders to face the ethics committee.

A memo from the GOP House campaign committee touts Foley's replacement, state Rep. Joe Negron, and asserts in boldfaced type that Negron "will certainly have the weight of the local, state, and national Republican Party structures behind him over the next 36 days," and that "we are confident the voters will opt for the political experience and the legislative record of Joe Negron."  But the memo does not get into any details about how the GOP will try to help Negron overcome the obstacle of not having his name on the ballot -- and having to ask people to vote for Foley in order to elect him.

The New York Times notes that Majority Leader John Boehner has basically conceded Foley's seat to the Democrats.  "'To vote for [Negron], you have to vote for Mark Foley,' Mr. Boehner said on a conservative radio program hosted by Sean Hannity.  'How many people are going to hold their nose to do that?'" 

"Negron admits he needs to spend well into the 'low millions' to win the race and tell people that a vote for Foley on the ballot is really a vote for him," reports the Herald.  "And, he said, voters will know that he's no Mark Foley."