Cannon: "Precocious" Pages Egged on Foley in Online Sex Scandal

Cannon: "Precocious" Pages Egged on Foley in Online Sex Scandal


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(KSL News) - In an interview first aired on KSL Newsradio's Nightside Project, Congressman Chris Cannon seemed to blame the pages themselves for the scandal that is now dominating national news. Today, he attempted to clarify his statements.

In the interview aired Thursday night, Cannon told the Nightside Project that Congressman Foley should not bear all of the blame for allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to House pages.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah: "Frankly, this is the responsibility of the parents. If you get online you may find people who are creepy. There are creepy people out there who will do and say creepy things. Avoid them. That's what you have to do. And maybe we can say that a little more to the pages."

The Congressman said some of the pages were "precocious" and suggested they were guilty of "egging" Congressman Foley into sending inappropriate email.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah: "You know, these kids are actually precocious kids. It looks like, just maybe, this one email was just a prank, just a bunch of kids sitting around, egging this guy on, you know. So, uh, the world's a complicated place, and we just have to do the best we can."

The unsubstantiated notion that Foley had been baited into a sexual exchange was first floated Thursday on Drudge.com. It has yet to be confirmed.

In response to the Nightside interview, State Democratic Party spokesman Jeff Bell posted this response on the Utah Democrats blog:

"It was a shameful display of both partisan divisiveness and a deep look into the thoughts of a Congressman whose district has more children than any other in America. Any and all feeling of outrage and anger at Mr. Cannon's callous and ignorant statement is justified."

On KSL Newsradio this morning, Cannon attempted to clarify his earlier comments, saying he doesn't blame the pages, but feels parents need to take responsibility in teaching kids what is appropriate online.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah: "The point is, for parent, if you've got cell phones that can text message, or more importantly, you have cell phones that can send pictures, you need to tell you kids what is appropriate, and what is not. It is not a matter of fault. It's not a matter of sharing fault. It's a matter of wise parents helping to prepare their kids for a world that has people like Mark Foley in it."

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