The pace of the news on the Foley scandal is making it difficult for Republicans to stop their slide. On Thursday, House Speaker Dennis Hastert declared that mistakes were made in handling the Foley case and that he would remain in his post to make sure the misdeeds were thoroughly investigated. Almost immediately, ABC News reported that three more former pages had come forward to say that they had received suggestive e-mails and instant messages from Foley. And just as Republicans were attempting to form a united front to paint the timing of the Foley revelations as Democratic dirty tricks-What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?-the Republicans got a fratricidal shot out of the dark-on Iraq. Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner declared that the United States had 90 days to quell the violence in Iraq, or risk losing the war. To top it off, on Friday an aide to Karl Rove resigned over the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling and corruption scandal.
Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating has fallen to a new all-time low for the Newsweek poll: 33 percent, down from an already anemic 36 percent in August. Only 25 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the country, while 67 percent say they are not. Foley’s disgrace certainly plays a role in Republican unpopularity: 27 percent of registered voters say the scandal and how the Republican leadership in the House handled it makes them less likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate; but 65 percent say it won’t make much difference in determining how they vote. And Americans are equally divided over whether or not Speaker Hastert should resign over mishandling the situation (43 percent say he should, but 36 percent say he shouldn’t).