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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

White House assists GOP Congressional trip to Syria while condemning Pelosi for going there

Via TPM Muckraker, we learn that the White House may have helped coordinate a trip for GOP Congressmen to Syria at the same time it was complaining about Nancy Pelosi's trip.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. - While U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming visit to Syria has caused the White House to bristle, a little-publicized rendezvous took place Sunday between Syria's president and Lancaster County's congressman.

And though Bush administration officials have been criticizing Pelosi, it's not clear what role the White House and the U.S. Department of State played when U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts and two other Republican congressmen met with Syrian President Bassar Assad.

Pitts is a Chester County Republican who represents Lancaster County.

Gabe Neville, Pitts' chief of staff, said Monday the conference between Assad and the three Republicans was intended to be "low profile."

"It was done in cooperation with the administration," he said.

However, White House spokesman Alex Conant said Monday the Bush administration — as a blanket policy — "discourages all of (Congress') visits" to Syria, a country believed by the White House to sponsor terrorism.


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