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Toof 08 Jul 2004 03:44 PM

A Passing Friendhsip
 
White House Downplays Bush-Enron Ties
By DEB RIECHMANN

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House sought Thursday to minimize President Bush's ties with indicted former Enron chief Kenneth Lay, saying it has been a long time since they talked and suggesting it was only a passing friendship.

When Bush was governor of Texas, he called Lay "Kenny Boy'' and Enron was a big financial backer. Bush has received more than $550,000 in donations from Enron, its employees and their relatives during his political career - the most from any source.

Lay was accused in an 11-count indictment of being involved in a wide-ranging scheme to deceive the public, company shareholders and government regulators about the energy company that he founded and led to industry prominence before its collapse in 2001.

"Cracking down on corporate wrongdoing is a top priority for this president,'' White House press secretary Scott McClellan said when asked about Lay's indictment Thursday. "The administration is taking strong and aggressive actions to pursue corporate wrongdoers and to strengthen corporate accountability. I don't think I'm going to get into discussing specifically a criminal indictment.''

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign accused the administration of dragging its feet on Enron. "It was three years too late,'' Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said of the Lay indictment.

Trying to distance Bush from Lay, McClellan said Lay had supported many politicians, Democrats as well as Republicans. Altogether, more than 250 members of Congress from both parties have received Enron contributions.

"He was a supporter in the past and he's someone that I would also point out has certainly supported Democrats and Republicans in the past,'' McClellan said.

He also said that "it's been quite some time'' since Bush and Lay talked.


Thats quite Convenient Bush. You guys were very close while you were a Texas governor with Kenneth following you like a lap dog while you were governor having constant communication and Enron being your top contributor on the Govenor race in 1998 and the presidential elections in 2000 as far as state wide contrbutions and now that he got indited you're separating yourself from him caling youfriendship with him "a passing friendship". You might play amnesia Bush but the press has quite a good memory.


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