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The president still supports Paul Wolfowitz in his position as chairman of the World Bank, a spokeswoman said, even though Wolfowitz has been linked romantically to a bank employee given a huge pay raise.

Spokeswoman Dana Perino spoke about the issue at a press briefing, including responding to questions from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House.

“Page one of this morning’s New York Times reports that Mr. Wolfowitz’s tenure as president of the World Bank was ‘thrown into turmoil by disclosure that he helped arrange a pay raise for his companion, Shaha Riza, for which he was greeted with, ‘booing, catcalls, and cries for his resignation by staff members.’ … Does the president believe it was right or wrong for Mr. Wolfowitz to do this for what the Times terms ‘his companion?’” Kinsolving asked.

“Paul Wolfowitz apologized for the matter, and has talked to his board about it, and there’s a review under way,” she said.

Kinsolving pressed the issue further, however.

“What definition of this word, ‘companion,’ can the public conclude, other than mistress? Does the president believe that people he nominated to such posts…,” he asked.

“I’m not going to go there, Les – not going to do it,” she said.

Earlier she said the president retained “full confidence” in Wolfowitz.

“He’s done a remarkable job at the World Bank, where they are working to lift people up out of poverty … around the world. He’s apologized for the matter, and his board is undergoing an internal review. And we expect him to remain as World Bank president – he has the president’s support,” Perino said.

“But for more detail and questions I would have to refer you over to the World Bank, who is conducting that independent review,” she said.

Wolfowitz arrived at the bank in 2005 after four years as a deputy defense secretary, with input into how the war in Iraq was being pursued.

He brought a “house-cleaning” campaign with him, saying the bank wasn’t tough enough in dealing with allegations of corruption in some of the governments it was working with, and promptly cancelled several ongoing projects.

He already has apologized for the situation, in which Riza’s salary reportedly was raised to $193,000.

“I made a mistake for which I am sorry,” he told reporters. He said he should have taken himself out of negotiations over her sttaus.



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