All the President's Scandals

By Fields, Suzanne | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 4, 1996 | Go to article overview

All the President's Scandals


Fields, Suzanne, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Fevered speculation dominates the conversations of the capital's political junkies who now cede a second term to Bill Clinton. They're debating whether he'll finish it.

The odds-on favorite scandal is Filegate. This one goes to the heart of a corrupt administration, with snooping on 700 people, mostly Republicans, whose background checks included sensitive and potentially embarrassing information. What's awful about Filegate is easy for almost anyone to understand and elicits outrage from ordinary citizens. What were those files doing in the White House? Who hired the unsavory Craig Livingstone, one time bouncer in a downscale saloon, as head snoop?

Others predict that the swirling and turbulent undercurrents rushing over Whitewater rapids will flood the White House. Whitewater is not only about corruption years ago, but how it may have worked its way into the highest levels at the White House where Vince Foster's confidential records were spirited out of his office after his death, and where the first lady's long-sought billing records mysteriously turned up in the family quarters.

Travelgate obsesses the Hillary skeptics because they suspect it goes to the hypocrisy of the first lady: that she ordered the firing of an office full of faithful employees so she could "get our people in." That's not the sensitive wife of the "I-feel-your-pain" president she has presented herself to be. If the public is persuaded that she adopted a phony persona as a compassionate crusader for humankind - especially the little children of the village - other accusations against her become more plausible and persuasive.

Some people in the capital think the greatest scandal is the foreign and illegal campaign money invested in the Democrats. "Indogate" has already wounded Al Gore, whose nonsensical explanation that he mistook a fund-raiser in a Buddhist temple for a "community outreach program" suggests that corruption in this administration is contagious. John Huang, who played hide and seek with U.S. marshals until he finally came out of the cold to accept a subpoena last week to answer questions about raising money abroad, further cast suspicions about the first lady's integrity when he revealed that she sent him encouragement while he was on the lam. …

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