Frist Probe Impacts Presidential Ambitions

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) says a federal investigation into his sale of stock in a family-owned hospital chain will affect his decision on whether he will seek the presidency in 2008.

Frist, R-Tenn., said Saturday during a visit to Iowa — site of the nation's first presidential caucuses — that he has not lost the public's trust and wants people to "wait for the facts before passing judgment."

Before speaking at the Iowa GOP's annual fundraising dinner, Frist told reporters that his visit does not confirm any presidential aspirations. "I've been to Iowa many times," he said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Frist's sale of millions of dollars of stock in HCA (search), the Nashville-based hospital chain founded by his father and brother. The sales were completed by July 1, two weeks before share prices fell by 9 percent. Frist has denied he acted on insider information.

Frist defended Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers (search), saying he is confident that President Bush's White House counsel will be confirmed and will display the same ideals as the GOP. Miers has been criticized for her lack of judicial experience.

"I don't want people to start throwing either allegations or bombs ... until they really know who Harriet Miers is," he said.

"No, she didn't go to Harvard, she didn't go to Yale, like most of the justices up there," Frist said. "But she's the sort of person that has had real-life experiences."