Business As Usual At The White House
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug.7) -- While the Washington press corps and the media at large have been focused, almost obsessively, on the comings and goings at the federal courthouse, President Bill Clinton has maintained a calm, detached facade in the wake of emerging details about the nature of his alleged sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Thursday, as Lewinsky finally stepped into a courtroom, immunized and prepared by Independent Counsel Ken Starr's staff, Clinton continued his "no-worries-here" public stance.
It wasn't exactly the day one would expect to see the president gladhanding, but after a solemn and contemplative Clinton promised to continue to fight for gun control, he headed, as usual, right into the crowd.
Clinton has also tried to remain focused on policy.
"Let me be clear: I will oppose any legislation that would gut the Brady law and put guns back into the hands of felons and fugitives," Clinton said Thursday.
Friday the issue was job training.
"We're giving our workers the tools they need to move quickly to 21st century jobs, higher incomes and brighter futures," Clinton said before signing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. "Today, we celebrate a big step forward in making sure that every adult can keep on learning for a lifetime; where no disadvantaged child, no displaced worker, no welfare parent, no one willing to learn and work is left behind."
And before the job-training event in the Rose Garden, Clinton signed the Credit Union Membership Access Act.
Early Friday morning, a pair of bombs exploded near U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, finally knocking the Lewinsky matter out of its top news spot.
The president was awoken at 5:30 a.m. EDT with the news. Always at his best when consoling a nation, Clinton began Friday's event with words of sympathy for the victims and their families, and defiant outrage at the perpetrators.
"To the families and the loved ones of the American and African victims of these cowardly attacks, you are in our thoughts and prayers," Clinton said. "Out of respect for those who lost their lives, I have ordered that the American flag be flown at half-staff at all government buildings here at home and around the world.
"We are determined to get answers and justice," Clinton said.
The public events, on friendly ground at the White House, also provide a forum for Clinton's supporters to counter the president's negative press.
"Make no mistake about it. The leadership of Bill Clinton is making a huge difference for the children and the families of America," Vice President Al Gore proclaimed at Thursday's ceremony.
At both of the Rose Garden events, reporters tried to shout their Lewinsky-related question at the president, to no avail.
CNN's John King contributed to this report.