February 18, 2005
Admitting Prostitutes To White House Part Of New Outreach Program, Officials Say
The Bush Administration today said that its credentialing of a Republican prostitute to the White House press pool was part of a job training and escort outreach initiative. "It's part of a program of good works," said Press Secretary Scott McClellan.
The White House was trying to explain why Jim Guckart was given daily access to the White House for the last two years. Guckart, who went by the name of Jeff Gannon in the Briefing Room, has been credentialed as a member of the press corps, and received a White House press pass even before he had ever become a journalist, Salon now reports.
Escort Asked to Visit White House At No Charge, Says McClellan
The White House denied that it had paid Guckart to come to the White House press corps to spend time with with Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan and President Bush. Although Guckert's x-rated web sites offer Guckart's male escort services for $200 an hour, or $1500 a weekend, the White House said it did not pay those rates. "He didn't charge us anything for the weekdays," said Scott McClellan, "and he was never here on weekends."
White House officials denied that they had issued credentials to Guckart because he was a Republican prostitute. "We credential escorts regardless of their party affiliation," Scott McClellan said. When pressed, McClellan admitted that, so far as he knew, none of the rest of the the White House press corps were "professionals."
McClellan said that the White House was not concerned about any security risks that might be associated with the admission of professional escorts to the White House. "When you take the necessary precautions, it's almost entirely safe," he said.
At least one prominent Democrat was not pleased with the so-called program. "I have a suggestion," said Congressman John Conyers. "Abstinence."
Update: TBogg connects the dots.
Posted by Tom Burka at 8:08 AM