(Interview with disgraced Republican Congressman Mark Foley)
Congressman Foley, how did President Bush react to your resignation over allegations of inappropriate emails to congressional pages?
He was understandably upset. It reflects very badly on the G.O.P., because as Republicans, we have a responsibility, when we screw up, to always face our accusers directly, or go after their wives. We never cut and run like a Democrat.
So are you saying he asked you to withdraw your resignation?
That is correct. And in fact, I never did resign. That was the liberal media spinning my resignation to sound like something that, in fact, happened, rather than waiting for the White House talking points that would have clarified the matter. This rush to judgment is typical of people who I will not call unpatriotic, but there is certainly no other word for it. After I explained to the President the extent of my wrongdoing, he gave me the Congressional Medal of Freedom and told me I was doing a heckuva job.
Then what do you say in response to the growing insurgency of congressional pages who are coming forward to attack your credibility?
Bring em on!
I understand that people are upset. But this is all old news.
Theres nothing in these reports that we havent heard before.
In fact, some of the things Im being accused of happened nearly three years ago.
That was 2003. Why are we still talking about this?
What does it matter that I used false pretenses to become involved in congressional pages?
Were here now.
Its time to put the past behind us and move on.
Lets stop playing the blame game.
Yes, I made mistakes.
But if were ever going to get past those mistakes.
We have to stay the course.
How will staying the course, change the course of events that most Americans feel is going in the wrong direction?
Isnt it interesting that these questions come up in an election year?
I think the people behind these allegations should be ashamed of themselves.
If our elected officials are not fit to hold office,
and they use that information to remove them from office. It emboldens the evildoers.
What some people dont understand. What the Democrats clearly dont understand. Is we are at war with child molesters.
Im talking about good, innocent children, who love their country.
I support those children.
I honor their sacrifice.
And when the opposition party refuses to support the children, by keeping me in office.
It gives comfort to child molesters.
But arent you, basically, a child molester yourself?
No. That is categorically not true.
Child molesters are evil-doers.
I am a registered Republican.
Im one of the good ones.
When I touch a child. Or invade a childs privacy.
I do it because I know its the right thing to do.
And I decide whats right. Im the decider.
Evil doers dont get to decide. We should not give them that choice.
And thats why Ive introduced a bill into congress
to re-examine how we define child molestation.
Under the current Constitution, the definition of molestation is so vague
That there are Americans overseas who could be guilty of sex crimes in other countries
And brought up on charges before an international court.
We cant allow that.
If Americans commit sex crimes overseas, I want them home safe.
And I know that may sound paradoxical. Or hypocritical. Or even diabolical.
But you have to remember:
September 11th changed everything.
Weve heard September 11th used as an excuse for the war in Iraq. But what does September 11th have to do with child molestation?
What does it have to do with Iraq?
The point is: It doesnt matter if Iraq had any connection to September 11th.
What matters is that were in Iraq now.
Lets stay there and get the job done.
I am now the co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. Let me do my job. If I step down from my position, just because a few people are not happy with my work.
Then the child molesters win.
We have to get our priorities straight.
What matters most is the security of our children.
And who knows better how to protect the children from child molesters?
I am a molestation congressman.
I make decisions here in the House of Representatives withmolestation on my mind.
I see dangers that exist and it's important for us to deal with them.
If your children are talking to child molesters, I want to know about it. I want to know their screen names. I want to read those instant messages.
We are at war. And I am not going to abandon my post just because some people feel that I am not doing my job.
I will not stop protecting your children, until they are old enough to protect themselves.
When the children stand up. I will stand down.
But for now, these young men and women are the front line in the war on child pornography. And I will not let a few isolated incidents of pedophilia that occurred on my watch, weaken my resolve to stay the course and continue doing what I have always done.
Regardless of whether it produces the desired result.
That is all. No more questions.
He storms out.
"Foley Press Conference"
Mark Foley: Republican Values Campaign 2006
Speechwriter: Jeff Goode, copyright © 2006