Jeb Bush denies affair rumors

Florida's governor says stories linking him to a Cabinet secretary are "an outright lie."

Published May 14, 2001 6:30PM (EDT)


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Big buzz

It comes as no surprise that Jeb Bush appeared before the press Monday to publicly deny that he was having an affair with a member of his Cabinet.

The whispers linking Bush to Cynthia Henderson, secretary of the Department of Management Services, had reached something of a fever pitch thanks to an unsourced item on MediaWhores Online, followed by items in the Tallahassee Democrat and a cryptic reference to Bush's "family troubles" in a column by conservative writer Robert Novak. Two other Florida dailies weighed in with stories about the rumor over the weekend.

"Lies were spread by gossip. Sadly, it's reached the point where it's being written about," Bush said Monday. "But the fact you have to ask that question and I have to answer is sick, it really is."

"I cannot tell you how hurtful this is," Bush continued. "I love my wife. There is nothing to this rumor. It is an outright lie."

Posters at the Democratic Underground were unmoved by Bush's denial. "I believe you Jeb. Like I believe that you had nothing to do with the theft of the presidency. Like I believe that you and Katherine Harris knew nothing about the voter roll purge. Yep, Jeb, you are a true compassionate conservative repugnant ... That I believe!"

Over at, there was some surprisingly bipartisan back and forth in one thread. "They'll be divorced soon. Watch and see," writes one poster. "The Republicans thought nothing of piling charge upon charge on Clinton, accusing him of rape, murder and everything else they could think of, and finally had to settle for catching him lying about having oral sex with his girlfriend. Yet, a member of the [Bush] crime family is always to believed at face value," writes another.

Of course, others in the thread were screaming "Dirty trick!"

"This garbage is a direct result of the Clinton, Carville, Begala era of scorched earth politics. Lie, smear and defame the lives of innocent people for sport and profit. It doesn't just hurt two individuals but it affects their family, friends, associates. Is it any wonder so many good people refuse to consider public service?"

By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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