Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Needs a Christmas Amnesty from Voters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Needs a Christmas Amnesty from Voters

Article excerpt

It's pretty clear that the gods don't want Bill Clinton to inhale success. The president was in the best shape he had been since he raised his right hand. He had finally begun to rise in the ratings; he and the first lady were setting the tone for the nation's Christmas, he reading "The Night Before Christmas" to urban urchins, she baking cookies.

But a hard-thrown mudball soiled the tableau. Overnight Clinton went from being the picture-perfect president to being the tabloid politician, fighting off new allegations by Arkansas state troopers of reckless infidelity.

CNN broadcast the unseasonable tidings and The American Spectator, a right-wing periodical, printed the reminiscences of the four who had been his familiars in Little Rock.

Once again Hillary Rodham Clinton leapt to the fore to defend her man. She called the stories "terrible" and "outrageous." She said that greed and vengeance motivated the tellers. White House friends pointed out that the allegations, however sordid and undermining of the president's moral authority, do not relate to impeachable offenses. A new element - charges that Clinton called up one of the singing cops and offered him a job to keep him and the others quiet - is probably not provable. (It has been denied by the trooper, Danny Ferguson.) The president, seeking company in his misery, thankfully sought the collective "we" in his denial that he or his people had engaged in felonious conversations with the troopers. "We have done nothing wrong," he said in a holiday interview with the wire services.

Staff members kept their heads down.tioi Their hope is that Christmas preoccupations will gain the stories nothing more than distracted attention.

And besides, the country has been there - in the unhappy land where citizens, with sketchy details, try to assess what they have a right to expect from their president in the way of character and conduct. Two years ago in New Hampshire they arrived at the conclusion that it was either none of their business or that it didn't matter. "So what?" was the winner of the New Hampshire primary, where Clinton came in second. …

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