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Blue Dogs Silent on Matters Involving Condit

Aired July 10, 2001 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST, TALKBACK LIVE: Bob, I am going to have to interrupt you just briefly here. There is a news conference going on with Blue Dog Democrats, of which Congressman Condit was one, those are moderate Democrats -- conservative Democrats, rather. They are usually tied with moderate Republicans.

Let's listen to what they have to say.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. MAX SANDLIN (D), TEXAS: ... let me say this. We are here today focusing on an important issue before the country: energy, something we worked long and hard on, something we are proposing for legislation to be prepared to back up our policy, that is important to the American public. And we have no comments to say on these other issues, I don't see that they are relevant, and as a news organization, I think you would be interested in covering our policy, not our particular thoughts or comments on...

QUESTION: You do have responsibility in the area, is this a matter you think...

SANDLIN: We are here to talk about energy, and we appreciate your questions. Are there any other questions about energy?

QUESTION: Several of you have had personal conversations with Mr. Condit over the last several weeks. Are any of you feeling less about him based on recent developments?

SANDLIN: He's a valuable member of this coalition, I don't think we are here to talk about that today.

REP. ALLEN BOYD (D), FLORIDA: Can I say, as the communication chairperson, we didn't -- I want to stop this line of questioning now. We didn't -- these members didn't come here to talk about that, they came to talk about the energy policy. If there's other questions about energy then we will be glad to take them?

QUESTION: Mr. Condit is not making himself available to our questions, he's a vital member of this group, this is a public room and we are asking public questions. Obviously, people have this story on their radar screens, they are very interested in it, a member of Congress is under a serious cloud right now, and we just want to know what you, as respected members of the same body have to say about him or to him?

BOYD: All -- we answered that and I just -- we don't have anything to add. All of us have known Gary Condit for all of our days in Congress, and I don't know of anybody that's ever discussed it with him, so we are here to talk about energy. Just, don't know of anything else to tell you.

QUESTION: Has he told you the truth about...

BOYD: Never talked -- never talked to him. Any other questions on energy? Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Does the Blue Dog Coalition support the...

BATTISTA: All right. Bob Franken, are you still there, Blue Dog Democrat news conference going on there, and nobody wanted to talk about energy policy, they wanted to ask questions of course about Congressman Condit, as he's a member of that group.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: None of the members wanted to talk about Congressman Condit. I should point out, that the Blue Dogs, and I'll spare you the history of the name. The Blue Dogs are a coalition of conservative Democrats in Congress, they are particularly conservative, when it comes to matters economic. They were holding a news conference. As you could see, determined to talk about energy.

While Congressman Boyd said, he had not talked to Congressman Condit about the Chandra Levy matter. Several other members have had conversations. They say they have been assured by Condit there was no romantic relationship. Now of course Condit has to come back and explain to them, why he apparently wasn't telling the truth. That is something that will face Condit when he returns.

By the way, he just left his apartment a short while ago, was able to avoid the cameras that were outside, waiting for the search of the apartment that police say could very easily happen today, a search that was brought on when Condit's attorney Abbe Lowell, said, if the police want to search the apartment it's OK with them. So the police said OK, we'll take him up on this.

But the news of the hour is that police also are saying they want to take up Abbe Lowell's offer and Condit's offer that if in fact they want to discuss a lie detector test, they want to discuss taking a lie detector test, that they should do so.

Well, the police are saying, OK, we are going to discuss that. They are seeking a polygraph test of Congressman Condit, that was something that was originally called for by the family of Susan Levy, the parents of Chandra Levy -- Bobbie.

BATTISTA: Bob Franken, thanks very much.

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