At the end of another week in the Monica Lewinsky saga, the
story has settled into that familiar feeling of water dripping on a
New droplets of information, or alleged information, continue
to emanate from the murky reaches of the various teams, both legal
and political, at war over the president's future.
Presidential aides and protectors - this week, it was
long-time confidant Bruce Lindsey, former Secret Service agent
Lewis Fox, and former personal aide Stephen Goodin - continue to
file into federal court to be questioned by a grand jury.
Other key figures, such as Washington lawyer Vernon Jordan
and Ms. Lewinsky herself, the former White House intern alleged to
have had a sexual relationship with the president, sit in the
wings, awaiting their turn in the courtroom.
Sooner or later, independent counsel Kenneth Starr will
likely want to hear from the president himself.
Through it all, President Clinton has steadfastly avoided
presenting his own version of events to the public - despite
suggestions from former and current aides that there is a story
to tell, and that it needs to be told.
All of this leads to the ultimate political question: Are the
walls closing in on Mr. Clinton?
Analysts are divided as to whether Clinton can stonewall the
Lewinsky matter ad infinitum. The president's greatest human shield
- strong job-approval ratings by the public - is still in place,
but it's not a very reliable shield, says political commentator
"It can't protect him for a long period of time," says Mr.
Schneider, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, "and it
can turn on a dime when new information comes out."
Schneider notes that polling data aren't heading in the
president's favor. The number of people who think the president did
have a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and lied about it is
growing, he says, because there's no alternative story. In
addition, the number of people who think Clinton needs to say more
about the Lewinsky matter - earlier this week, CNN put that figure
at 51 percent of the public - is growing.
Statements this week by Clinton's former chief of staff, Leon
Panetta, and his press secretary, Michael McCurry, added to the
perception that the president can't maintain his silence forever.
On ABC's "This Week," Mr. Panetta said that "obviously there
was something more here" than the president has revealed so far
regarding his relationship with Lewinsky and "it's got to be
explained to the American people. …