Reaction inside the administration, on K Street, and in Congress to the evolving "D.C. Madam" scandal has turned from titillation to frustration and anger that the alleged clients lied to officials about their practices, didn't do enough to protect their anonymity, and have waited too long to step down even though they know they are on Deborah Jeane Palfrey's list.
The focus of the anger, especially from administration officials, is former Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias, an accomplished corporate executive who gets high marks for his work on the AIDS/HIV program.
"Tobias knew he was on that list and should have resigned the day [Palfrey] was named" in the criminal case, said a Bush adviser. "It would have been a blip in the news now if he had done that."
Another former senior Bush adviser added that there is a feeling of frustration that other top aides didn't tell the truth during the vetting process, leaving the administration open to the scandal. News reports suggested that a Bush economist and military brass could be named as clients as early as this week. Congressional Republican aides, meanwhile, are hopeful that the list includes Democrats too.
"I hope the list is bipartisan," said one. Meanwhile, key Washington strategic PR offices report that they are receiving calls from concerned potential targets in the case.
By Paul Bedard