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Bush White House says it won't be distracted by pranks of past tenants

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush White House said Friday it is focused on the business of government, and not on any pranks that may have taken place before Bush staffers arrived in their new offices.

Still, the new administration is documenting what took place.

"The cataloguing that I mentioned, frankly, that's one person in our administrative offices who is really just keeping track in his head about things that may have taken place," Ari Fleischer, Bush's press secretary, told reporters at his daily briefing.

Fleischer indicated there would not be any formal investigation.

Republican sources told CNN that the pranks included removing the letter "w" from computer keyboards, forwarding some calls from various offices to the chief of staff's office and leaving signs on doors poking fun at George W. Bush's occasional verbal pratfalls of the new president, such as one sign saying "Office of the Strategerie."

One Republican with close ties to the Bush White House, who has been at the White House "a couple of times," told CNN that there was "trash everywhere," that some phone lines were cut and there was graffiti on at least one wall.

"The condition was appalling," said this Republican official who did not want to be identified.

The official said that Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, has asked his staff to focus on the business of governing, and not on these alleged pranks.

When Fleischer was asked Thursday if workers who were repainting and recarpeting the White House may have accidentally been responsible for any cut lines, the Bush spokesman said, "I don't think that the people who are professionals, who make it their business to go in and prepare the White House for new arrivals, would cut wires."


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Friday, January 26, 2001

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