The top Republican in the U.S. Senate was in Iowa this weekend, acknowledging his party is being severely challenged. But Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, the Majority Leader of the Senate, said the public has not lost confidence in Republican leaders. A grand jury is investigating a White House leak that led to the outing of an undercover C-I-A agent. Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay is under indictment in Texas and Frist is under investigation for selling stock in his family’s company just before the value of that stock fell sharply.
Frist urged Americans to wait and let the facts come out. Frist said he’s “confident” he’ll be cleared of the insider trading charge. “In my particular case, I want the process to hurry up as quickly as possible because it’s so absolutely crystal clear,” Frist said. “I acted properly throughout every step of this process.”
Frist accused Democrats of making baseless attacks against him and other Republicans. “Republicans know what they stand for. Democrats know what they stand against,” Frist said. “You’ll hear these allegations that don’t stay on the issues…the scare tactics that are put forward, we’ve seen them in the past. The false accusations that are put forth, we’ve seen it in the past.”
Frist said he operates on principal and conviction and integrity in politics just as he did when he was a surgeon, and that “reality” will be what the public will see. Frist says Republicans in Washington are also dealing with the void left on the Supreme Court with the death of one justice and the resignation of another, as well as rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, all in the midst of a global war.
Frist will not seek reelection, fulfilling a promise to serve just two terms in the Senate, and hints he may run for president in 2008. Frist says he’s been to Iowa frequently, and will return to the state which holds the first Caucuses of the next presidential campaign. Frist says he’s a “citizen legislator” and intends to leave Washington and live in Nashville when his senate term ends. Frist was the keynote speaker at the fundraising banquet Iowa Republicans held Saturday night in Des Moines.