— From NBC's Mike Viqueira
Embattled Speaker Dennis Hastert got a boost today: Rep. Mike Pence, chair of the House conservative caucus, and Rep. Joe Pitts, head of a group called the "Values Action Team," have come out in support of him. Their statement: "What our former colleague Mark Foley has done is appalling and disgusting on its face. But in the context of the responsibilities of high office, his actions are even more despicable. And in the context of the Republican Party, which has done so much to protect and nurture children, it is utterly unconscionable... Regardless of our reservations about how this matter was handled administratively, we believe Speaker Hastert is a man of integrity who has led our conference honorably and effectively throughout the past eight years. Speaker Dennis Hastert should not resign."
Since Republicans were the ones who elected Hastert as Speaker, and since conservatives are the single largest and most influential bloc in the House GOP, and since the nature of this scandal cuts right to the heart of what many conservatives care most about, the statement is significant and is good news for Hastert.