WASHINGTON, DC—Addressing shocked fellow cabinet members, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said Tuesday that he had assumed everyone knew about his roles in numerous 1980s pornographic films.
"I just figured people knew about the porno," Abraham said, shrugging. "I never got any flak about it, so I didn't think it was a big deal."
A former U.S. senator from Michigan who was appointed Energy Secretary by President Bush in 2001, Abraham said he has never denied that he performed in more than 50 erotic videos between 1984 and 1987.
"It feels like I mentioned it to everyone," Abraham said. "I can't remember the specific circumstances, but I'm positive I talked about it. If some people didn't know, maybe that's because they weren't around when it was discussed. Or else they never asked about it."
"The other cabinet members are very busy," Abraham added. "We don't spend a lot of time talking about our personal lives. I just figured they felt that my previous career in skin flicks had little bearing on my vision for America's energy future."
Abraham's "mostly softcore" body of work includes such features as Maid In The Shade, Jism Quest, Butt Fuck Sluts Go Nuts Vol. 3, and Lady Chatterly's Sisters.
"I did these films well before I got into national politics," Abraham said. "All of it was nice, positive, gentle stuff—movies couples could enjoy. I didn't do any fetish stuff, nor did I do anything with underage actors. And I certainly did not do any gay for pay. I want to make that clear."
"Now," Abraham added, clapping his hands together, "who's got a question about the nation's natural-gas and petroleum markets?"
According to visibly rattled White House Chief Of Staff Andrew Card, Abraham was wrong in assuming that the Bush Administration was aware of his roles in pornographic films.
"Why would we... I mean, it's... After all, given this administration's attitude toward... How could he just assume we knew?" Card asked. "That's an incredibly intimate thing to know about somebody. I think everyone would've been very uncomfortable knowing that sort of thing. Personally, I don't know if I would've been able to speak to him without thinking about that particular information."
Abraham said he didn't expect such reactions when he mentioned his former career during an Oct. 27 cabinet meeting. The energy secretary said he told the assembled White House staffers that the vulnerability of the nation's power grid reminded him of the first time he experienced a power outage.
"Spencer mentioned how he was living in a duplex in Encino in 1984," National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said. "He said it was terrible timing, because they were shooting that day, and he was on the verge of coming, and there was no backup generator for the camera and lights, and no air conditioning besides."
The comment puzzled cabinet members, but Abraham continued with his report. It was several days later, Rice said, when she thought to ask Abraham what he had meant by "camera and lights" and "on the verge of coming."
"I still don't know what the big deal is," Abraham said. "I just found out last week that [Treasury Secretary] John Snow knows how to scuba dive. No one freaked out when [Commerce Secretary] Don Evans told that story about sleeping in his friend's car that night in college."
Abraham countered rumors that he had withheld details of his pornographic film roles with what he characterized as "physical proof" that he hadn't.
"If I were hiding it, why would I list it on my résumé?" Abraham said, holding up a copy of the résumé he presented to Bush's presidential transition team and to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at his confirmation hearings in January 2001. "No one on the committee had any questions about it."
Abraham pointed to two résumé entries listed under "Miscellaneous Work Experience." The first was "Poolside Productions: production assistant, writer, occasional actor, 1984-85." The following line read "Ficus Tree Video: writer, director, performer, consultant, 1985-87."
Abraham's explanation did not satisfy Card.
"Those entries could have meant absolutely anything," Card said. "He could have been involved in making commercials, promotional videos, or even PSAs. We were supposed to look at his résumé and ask, 'Hey, Spence, aren't these long-defunct porn outfits? Were you pouring the pork in front of cameras?'"
"Incidentally," Card added, "Jism Quest hardly sounds softcore."
Abraham continued to downplay the importance of the films.
"Look, I was young, and I was broke," Abraham said. "As soon as my political career took off, I quit. The bottom line is: All of that's in the past. I think it's strange that I'm condemned for those films, but not for serving as Deputy Chief Of Staff to Dan Quayle."
"Now, I don't know about you," Abraham said, "but I'm ready to discuss the use of superconductivity technology in electricity transmission and distribution."
As of press time, it is unknown whether any other White House officials have performed in pornographic films.