White House Criticized for Using Photo of Bush for Fundraising
THE AFFILIATED PRESS
Reported by Adam Young
by Adam Young
WASHINGTON — The Affiliated Press has learned that the White House has authorized the Republican Party and President Bush's re-election campaign to sell commemorative photographs of an event inside the White House in their campaign fundraising.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Campaign Committee are offering the photograph as part of a package deal that includes a seat at a Republican fund-raiser where President Bush will speak.
For a $150 contribution, donors will be sent the photograph, reproduced below, which clearly shows the President standing at a podium in front of a stylized American flag and flanked by what appears to be the ghostly apparitions of presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
The photo, which has been cropped by staffers with the Republican campaign, was taken at a séance held in the White House.
The political tactic comes even though Mr. Bush had previously sworn off mixing election politics and the administration's War on Terror.
Election finance-law experts said it's unclear whether reproducing a White House photograph violates rules governing acceptable conduct by political campaigns.
Republican officials contend that its use is legal. They say that the photograph is part of the historical record of supernatural influence on the Bush presidency, and that since the fundraiser is being held in his honor, the fund-raising pitch is appropriate.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House séance picture was taken by the White House photographer on duty and was part of a package of photographs released to the media. McClellan said that unnamed members of the media had sold the pictures to a firm, which in turn sold them to the Republican Party.
He refused to say whether the White House would have objected to using the séance photograph had they known about it before, but said that the photograph shows the president going about his daily business, and was therefore unobjectionable. When asked, Mr. McClellan said that the president is in daily contact with supernatural forces, either God or other supernatural beings.
Democrats said they were assessing whether using the work of a government employee for political purposes violated their interpretation of federal campaign laws.
Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called it "grotesque."
Responded McClellan, "I think that the Democrats are having a very difficult time coming to grips with the fact that the president is a very spiritual man and like all spiritual men, he is aided and guided and sometimes possessed by spirits, sometimes speaking in tongues, which come to think of it, explains a lot about the presidents speaking-style."
Columnist E.J. Dionne said campaigns have used White House photographs before and the practice had never been challenged under federal campaign law.
"On the one hand, it's better than having a fund-raiser in the Lincoln Bedroom or the Map Room, on the other hand, the president is advised by all sorts of people — his cabinet, Congress, newspaper columnists, God, so why not dead former presidents? I don't see anything wrong with that so long as it's generally nonpartisan," Mr. Dionne said.
Senator Hillary Clinton in a statement called the affair "disgraceful. I cannot imagine that a President of the United States would engage in necromancy in the White House. The families of those who lost their lives on September 11th and all Americans of faith can't condone this — and neither should the President of the United States."
Majority House Leader Tom Delay when asked to comment criticized Senator Clinton. "I remember that Mrs. Clinton used to talk to Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House all the time. At least the president is talking to someone useful."
It is believed that the White House conducted the séance in early October in what appears to be a desperate attempt to resolve the ongoing deterioration of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It is not known what, if any, advice president Bush received from either presidents Washington or Lincoln, but it is rumored that following the séance, Mr. Bush expressed his gratitude to God for the opportunity to make war in his name.
Jason Ledbutter the president of the Center for Paranormal Sensory Investigation (CPSI) expressed relief that finally proof of ghosts had been offered by the government to the public. "You can't imagine how long I've been waiting for this day. People would think I'm crazy, but now I can say ‘Who's crazy now?' the President of the United States is all the proof I need."
Ted Wilkes, a self-identified warlock associated with the neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century, and the magazine the Weekly Standard, expressed hope that the administration would further turn towards the magical arts in its War on Terror.
"The administration is tying its hands if it only pursues conventional warfare and ignores the magical front. Hexes, spells, curses, you name it, if we don't use it, our enemies will, if they haven't already. Iraqi's say Saddam is a powerful magician, but I have my doubts, although he could have changed form and be hiding in the Baghdad Zoo for all we know."
Priscilla Deville, a self-proclaimed Wicca priestess affiliated with the website PagansPlusBushEqualWar.org commented "I'm not the only one who is gratified to see that the administration has employed necromancy and contacted two of the greatest Americans. Now, the administration must not only continue planning and waging wars like pagans, but embrace paganism too. The Romans were pagan and look how great they turned out."
The Rev. Matt Robinson, well-known televangelist and former Republican candidate for president said on yesterday morning's broadcast of his program the "700 minus 34 Club" that "the séance, while clearly the practice of the forbidden dark arts, were miraculously transformed by the Lord to bless this president and all his works. God himself sent two of his saints in heaven to appear next to our Leader. George W. Bush is God's president. Now, if he'd only listen to the Lord and liquidate the homosexuals, exterminate the Supreme Court, abolish Congress and govern as the founding fathers intended."
The séance is one in a series of supernatural or paranormal events that have figured prominently in the public and private comments and remarks by the administration and its supporters in certain communities of the electorate.
On September 11, 2001 the administration credited God's direct intervention in saving Air Force One with the president on-board from being struck down by a terrorist ICBM or al'Qaeda orbital particle-beam weapon or other possible calamity, and cited the intervention of faeries when the president and his entourage were briefly lost on their visit in Ireland late last year.
In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq earlier this year, administration officials cited information gleaned from several Middle Eastern genie's on Iraq's arsenals of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
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November 11, 2003