Bush and Abramoff: Photos don't lie, but did the White House?

Or does the president always invite the chairmen of Indian tribes to White House Chanukah parties?

Published January 23, 2006 5:52PM (EST)

So here's a question somebody ought to ask Scott McClellan today: Are the chairmen of Texas Indian tribes usually invited to White House Chanukah parties?

As we noted earlier today, Time says it has now seen five photographs of George W. Bush and Jack Abramoff together. McClellan said last week that Abramoff had visited the White House for a few "staff-level meetings" and a couple of Chanukah parties. And indeed, several of the photos Time has seen are of the sort that could have been taken at a White House holiday party: one of Bush and Abramoff in front of a blue drape, a few of Bush and Abramoff and various Abramoff kids.

But then there's the picture of Bush, Abramoff, a couple of unidentified men and Raul Garza Sr., the blue-jeaned and bolo-tied chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe, a Texas Indian tribe Abramoff represented.

It sure doesn't sound like a snapshot from a Chanukah party, and it isn't. The photo seems to have been taken during a May 2001 event in which Bush met with tribal leaders at the Old Executive Office Building -- a meeting arranged with the help of both Abramoff and Grover Norquist. As we noted the other day, Lou Dubose described such a meeting in a June 2005 article in the Texas Observer. The White House has said that its records don't show that Abramoff was in attendance. Time says that the photograph and three sources who were at the meeting all say otherwise.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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