Those disappearing Abramoff photos

If they really don't matter, why not release them?

Published January 26, 2006 8:50PM (EST)

We've said it before and we'll say it again: The existence of photos of George W. Bush with Jack Abramoff really shouldn't be much of an issue for anyone. Abramoff was a major Republican player, Bush is a Republican president, and it doesn't come as much of a surprise that the two would show up in photographs with each other. As the president himself said today, "I've had my picture taken with a lot of people."

And yet ... and yet ... the White House won't release the photographs of Bush with Abramoff, and now there's word that the company that photographs a lot of Republican events -- a company that just happens to be run by a woman who contributed as much as she could to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004 -- has scrubbed a photo of Bush and Abramoff from its catalog. Josh Marshall tells the story of his search for the photo at Talking Points Memo now. The upshot: The president of Reflections Photography says she made a "business decision" to remove the photo from her company's catalog.

What sort of business decision would that be? The president himself had the answer to that one today. He said the White House won't release photos of him with Abramoff because "we live in a world in which those pictures will be used for pure political purposes, and they're not relevant to the investigation."

By Tim Grieve

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

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