Between January 3, 1994, and August 3, 1994, President Bill Clinton addressed the “Whitewater” matter in the course of seven press/media appearances. This chapter will first explain the allegations against Clinton and then analyze his discourse in these settings using Benoit’s (1995a) typology of image restoration strategies. Note that this chapter, which considers discourse from multiple dates, will examine texts chronologically within the strategy categories. Finally, the discourse will be evaluated, considering internal merit and external data as evidence of effectiveness.
The scandal commonly referred to as “Whitewater” is a complicated matter. In its largest incarnation, it encompasses alleged financial, ethical, governmental, and sexual misdeeds. For a detailed description of the investigation, the reader should see the Washington Post Online (1998) special report devoted to the matter.
A brief history of this subject reveals, essentially, a bad real estate investment coupled with corruption, possibly on the part of the Clintons. In 1978, Governor and Mrs. Clinton, along with James and Susan McDougal, bought 220 acres of land in Arkansas, forming the Whitewater Development Corporation. The development project was a failure and dissolved in 1992, leaving the Clintons a $40,000 loss. Jim McDougal also owned Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which went under (costing taxpayers) in