Hastert Meets With Evangelist Who Wants His Resignation

House Speaker Dennis Hastert met Tuesday with an evangelist who hoped to persuade the Illinois Republican to step down because of the congressional page sex scandal.

Hastert had no comment after the meeting at his home with Christian evangelist K.A. Paul, founder of the Global Peace Initiative.

Paul told The Associated Press he met alone with Hastert for about 30 minutes and prayed with him.

"I am humbled with his humility and simplicity," Paul said of Hastert.

Hastert has resisted calls for his resignation over his handling of the situation involving former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, who stepped down after he was confronted with sexually explicit electronic messages he sent to teenage male pages. Foley is under investigation by federal and Florida authorities.

Paul said the scandal is distracting the country from other issues.

"We don't want the Foley scandal when we have 100 more important things to do," said Paul, whose Global Peace Initiative is a nonprofit group that focuses on causes aimed at peace and humanitarian aid.

The page sex scandal threatens Republicans' congressional control just a month before the elections.

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., who has been criticized by Democrats who say he didn't do enough to protect a page from Foley, says he told Hastert months ago about his concerns about Foley.

Hastert has insisted he was not aware of the charges until more recently but has accepted responsibility for the matter.