Clinton's ability to endure allegations of scandal while simultaneously conducting the duties of the presidential office was, in part, testament to his familiarity with, and understanding of, the role and mechanics of scandal in contemporary American politics. Having successfully accommodated several scandal allegations while both Governor and President, he nevertheless found, to his cost, that the unlikely evolution of the Lewinsky scandal was detrimental to his reputation within the elite circles of government. Yet Clinton, for all the problems encountered, conducted two full terms in office, entertained high levels of public approval, particularly in his second term, and gained respect in foreign affairs and in the international community as a consequence of his efforts to promote peace in several troubled nations.
Clinton's immediate reflections on the Lewinsky scandal were apparent within a short time of the conclusion of the trial vote in the Senate. At the end of March 1999 he conducted an interview with Dan Rather of CBS News, during which he considered the development of the Lewinsky episode. 1 Clinton stressed the lessons he had learned from the events, albeit that they were perhaps a little late to accommodate given the short remaining tenure of his presidency. He raised four issues. Firstly, he asserted: ‘every person must bear the consequence of his or her conduct, and when you make a mistake, you pay for it, no matter who you are’. 2 Secondly, in a comment reminiscent of post-Watergate statements made by Gerald Ford, he declared: ‘the Constitution works’. 3 In this instance, however, it had not facilitated in the removal of a corrupt President, but had aided in the retention of one suspected of several criminal acts. He suggested that partisanship underpinned his impeachment predicament and that the Founding Fathers, when constructing the Constitution, had purposefully,