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Rep. Reynolds Ad Fights Foley Effect

Facing a tight re-election race, Rep. Thomas Reynolds has launched an ad campaign to defend himself against criticism over the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley and congressional pages.

"Nobody's angrier and more disappointed that I didn't catch his lies," the New York representative says, referring to Foley, in the television commercial that appeared Friday on stations in Buffalo and Rochester. "I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done, and for that, I am sorry."

Reynolds, head of the House Republican election effort, has come under attack from Democrats who say he did too little to protect a page from Foley.

In an editorial board meeting Friday with The Buffalo News, Reynolds said he could not remember several details about his involvement, including exactly when he learned of Foley's e-mails to teenage congressional pages or when he told House Speaker Dennis Hastert about them.

However, Reynolds said Sept. 30 that he had told Hastert months ago about concerns that Foley sent inappropriate messages to a teenage boy.

Reynolds spokesman L.D. Platt did not immediately respond Saturday to a call seeking comment.

Reynolds already was in a tough re-election race against businessman Jack Davis, his rival from 2004.

Reynolds aides said his campaign will spend about $200,000 on the new commercial.

"I never saw a single e-mail," Reynolds says in the ad. "Not one."

Reynolds said his position in the House leadership has not been compromised.

He also told the newspaper editorial board his former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, never discussed with him any concerns about Foley, even though Fordham previously worked for Foley for a decade. Fordham resigned this past week.

Fordham said in an Associated Press interview that he warned Hastert's aides more than three years ago that Foley's behavior toward pages was troublesome. That was long before GOP leaders acknowledged learning of the problem.

Fordham's claim drew a swift, unequivocal denial from Hastert's chief of staff. "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen," Scott Palmer said through a spokesman.