Inside Politics

By Pierce, Greg | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 18, 1998 | Go to article overview

Inside Politics


Pierce, Greg, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


WHO'S WHO

New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy says "it would take a village idiot to believe that Hillary didn't know about Monica, Gennifer or the Jane Does over the years."

The columnist believes the first lady stands by her man because of her "burning ambition as queen of the Hill."

As evidence, Mr. Dunleavy points to an odd fact dug up by a researcher at his newspaper: In the 1997 "Who's Who in America," on page 786, Bill Clinton accords himself a biography about 1 1/2 inches deep; Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, devotes 3 1/2 inches to her accomplishments.

SENSE OF TRUST

"The issue at the moment is not about impeachment," writes New York Times columnist Bob Herbert.

"The Republicans have neither the clout nor the inclination, based on what is now known, to remove Mr. Clinton from office. Rather than fiddling with the dangerously unpredictable bomb of impeachment, the Trent Lotts, Newt Gingriches and Orrin Hatches of the world would much rather see the president, the hope of so many Democrats, sitting humiliated in the White House through the year 2000," Mr. Herbert said.

"The real issue is the president's relationship with the American people. Mr. Clinton's poll numbers may be high, but the nation's sense of trust in its president is collapsing. He lied about Gennifer Flowers. He seems to have lied about Monica Lewinsky. Why would it not be plausible to believe he lied about Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey? Or, for that matter, about delicate foreign policy issues, or legislative deal-making, or favors granted to fund-raisers?"

The columnist added: "Is he capable of telling the truth when the going gets tough? Who knows. If it turns out he's not, the last two years of his already damaged presidency won't be worth much. At some point, the public will lose its patience, even with Bill Clinton."

WARNING SIGN

Scandal is always an albatross for a president when being judged by historians, notes Wall Street Journal reporter Jackie Calmes.

"Pop history already provides a warning to Mr. Clinton. Writer Nathan Miller, making changes as his book, `Star Spangled Men: America's Ten Worst Presidents' goes to paperback publication, weighed whether to include Bill Clinton in William Howard Taft's place. But he decided `it's premature.'

" `The jury is still out - both literally and figuratively.' "

MACHIAVELLIAN INTRIGUE

"People close to the president say a series of targeted leaks to selected news organizations, beginning with Friday's New York Times, were aimed at persuading Clinton to amend his denial of a sexual relationship with the former White House intern," USA Today reports.

"Current and former White House aides portray a complicated scene of Machiavellian intrigue, in which some Clinton friends and legal advisers, frustrated with chief Clinton lawyer David Kendall, used the media in an end-run to get the president's attention," said reporters Bill Nichols and Susan Page.

The reporters added: "There was a vigorous guessing game under way as to who was responsible. The Times story was widely believed by Clinton aides to be the work of [Mickey] Kantor," the former U.S. trade negotiator and now a private lawyer for Mr. Clinton.

"The telltale sign, according to some at the White House: David Sanger, a Times reporter long close to Kantor, and who hasn't been part of the Times' Lewinsky coverage, was one of the authors."

Mr. Kantor could not be reached for comment, the reporters said, but White House officials denied that he was the leaker.

THE UNFORGIVEN

At least one of President Clinton's stalwart defenders, awaiting Mr. Clinton's testimony yesterday, said he would be unwilling to forgive the president if he changes his story.

New York Daily News columnist Lars Erik Nelson said: "If he can deny he had sex with Lewinsky, his wounded, diminished presidency will continue - and a world of leering gossips and babblers will owe him an apology. …

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