The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry That Defined a Generation

By Steven M. Gillon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN “Because We Can”

AT 4:00 PM ON September 9, a white Ford Windstar and a blue Dodge Ram pulled up to the Capitol and unloaded two copies of the 445-page Starr Report, along with 36 boxes of supporting materials related to the independent counsel’s investigation of the president. Gingrich, who had no advance warning that Starr was sending over his report, was attending a Republican leadership meeting at the nearby Library of Congress. After delivering the boxes, Starr’s representatives, trailed by eighteen armed police officers and a phalanx of reporters, delivered the documents that formally transferred the materials from the special prosecutor’s office to Gingrich and to Minority Leader Gephardt, who was in his Capitol office. “It is in their custody and control now,” Starr’s spokesman said.”1 With those words, the impeachment drama moved from the grand jury room to the halls of Congress and the White House focus shifted from Kenneth Starr to Newt Gingrich.

The Starr Report, along with all the supporting evidence, was locked away in a secure room on Capitol Hill so no one could view it. The House now needed to write the rules for how to proceed without even having a chance to see the report. Gingrich and Gephardt spent a frantic day trying to prepare the House for the next phase of the impeachment struggle. In many ways, the president’s fate was in the hands of two men who disagreed on just about everything except their distrust of him. Politically, they were constant combatants and polar opposites. “They hated each other,” recalled Washington Post reporter Peter Baker.2 Gephardt entered the House in 1976, two years before Gingrich, as a prolife conservative. During the 1980s, as he contemplated a run for the presidency, he moved gradually to the left. Gingrich

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The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry That Defined a Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter One- Growing Up 3
  • Chapter Two- It’s the ‘60s, Stupid" 9
  • Chapter Three- Paths to Power 29
  • Chapter Four- Newt Gingrich- Wedges and Magnets 49
  • Chapter Five- Bill Clinton- The "New Democrat" 71
  • Chapter Six- The Critical Year- 1992 91
  • Chapter Seven- First-Term Blues 109
  • Chapter Eight- The Revolution 123
  • Chapter Nine- Fighting Back 135
  • Chapter Ten- Budget Battles 147
  • Chapter Eleven- Winning Re-Election 173
  • Chapter Twelve- "We Can Trust Him" 187
  • Chapter Thirteen- "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet" 205
  • Chapter Fourteen- "Monica Changed Everything" 223
  • Chapter Fifteen- "Because We Can" 239
  • Chapter Sixteen- The End of Reform 259
  • Chapter Seventeen- ’60s Legacies 273
  • Sources 285
  • Notes 287
  • Index 321
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