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Clinton's Testimony

President Bill Clinton is set to tell his version of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky to the grand jury. We asked AllPolitics readers if he should speak to the nation following his testimony, and if so, what he should say. We got an avalanche of e-mail, and here's a sample. If you'd like to weigh in, too, send us an email and be sure to include your name and home town.

'A Sex-Besotted Teenager'

When Clinton testifies before the grand jury next week he should say:

(1) I'm sorry. The American people elected me to the highest office in the land, but instead of acting like a president, I acted like a sex-besotted teenager.

(2) When trouble started to break, instead of telling the truth, I lied. I always have lied in the past and got out of trouble and I thought I could lie this time, but it didn't work.

(3) I have blamed Ken Starr for the cost and longevity of his investigation while I was doing everything in my power to avoid getting to the truth, so I also apologize to Ken Starr.

(4) I herewith tender my resignation from the presidency and agree that I will never seek public office again.

-- Reis R. Kash, Springfield, Ore., Aug. 13

'Slick Willie Should Speak'

Slick Willie should speak, stating: "I admit it. I am a liar, a thief, and an adulterer. I got away with it in Arkansas. I am sorry I couldn't here. I am tonight resigning from the office of president of the United States. Hillary, my dog, my cat and I will return to Arkansas tomorrow."

-- Bert Smith, Spring, Texas, Aug. 13

'Shameful Investigation'

The president and every rational thinking American should ask Mr. Starr to come back to his senses, if he has any. He should use prosecutorial discretion and put an end to his shameful investigation.

-- Enrique Montero, Griffin, Ga., Aug. 12

'More Humiliation'

I think Bill Clinton should tell the truth for once, but I don't think he will. He should be honest with the American people or resign and save us from any more humiliation.

-- Lloyd Powell, Oklahoma City, Okla., Aug. 12

'Weasel Winnowing Word'

Just release the full testimony and let the public be the judge without the weasel winnowing word spin.

-- Pat Beauchamp, Washington state, Aug. 12

'Long Since Passed'

I feel his time for speaking to us has long since passed. His refusal to do so "sooner than later" has caused great damage to himself and the presidency. You can't put the genie back in the bottle! I think we've ALL been damaged by this chain of events that could have been avoided in the first place. Character does count!

-- Rita Walker, Beverly, Mass., Aug. 12


Bumper sticker I would like to see:


-- John Springer, El Dorado, Ark., Aug. 12

'The O.J. Simpson Defense Book'

I believe he will take a page out of the O. J. Simpson defense book. Deny, despite the growing mountain of evidence. The continued denial will give the supporters more to "hang their hat on." The country does not seem to be in the mind frame this president should be removed for the activities he is accused of. Like O.J. the majority believe something sexual went on in or around the Oval Office. Politics and this sexual episode is, in a way, worldwide entertainment. We are betting on how Clinton may parse his way out of the trap, but deep down inside we all know with a wink and a nod what the real truth is. It is made for TV.

-- Patricia Allender, Portland, Ore., Aug. 12

'A Right To Privacy'

Dear CNN,

The only thing that made ANY sense to me since the beginning of all this, was Bernie's [Bernard Shaw] report yesterday on an article written by Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, who said that, in essence, none of these questions had any right to be asked in the first place.

Isn't this the real truth? Isn't it true that we have a right to privacy that overrides ANYONE'S right to even ask such questions? I find it appalling that this has been discussed only once, and only for about three minutes.

Come on CNN, pose the full spectrum of analysis. I think this is more important than anything else that has come up in this whole "case." Are we, or are we not free from governmental entities' questions concerning private issues?

-- Greg DeLaney, Aug. 12

'His Own Business'

He should say the same thing that I think he should say to the grand jury. If he had a consensual sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he should say that he did, but refuse to go into details, because it was a consensual relationship between two adults. It was not a crime -- ergo, the details of his sex life are his own business and no one else's!!

-- Aline Gray, Narberth, Pa., Aug. 12

'Can No Longer Hide Or Delay'

President Clinton will speak to the nation after he testifies, because he must. He can no longer hide or delay; therefore the only alternative is to come before the people with the bare minimum of truth, a well rehearsed speech of apology for the duration of the situation, gratitude to those who have waited for the facts and condemnation of the right-wing conspiracy!!!!

Please excuse that outburst of heartfelt anguish. It's been a long 7 months!! In answer to the question of what the president SHOULD say, it would be nice to hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Are you holding your breath till that happens?

-- B. Sanders, Wiggins, Miss., Aug. 13

'Insignificant But Sordid'

The entire Lewinsky mess is about sex and adultery. Ken Starr and his Republican backers have attempted to turn it into the crime of the century. They certainly have managed to turn this insignificant but sordid affair into this year's top-rated, media-sponsored "O,J. Simpson Soap Opera."

So what should Bill Clinton say and do? How about the following deal:

Starr calls off his pit bulls and agrees not to indict anyone for this nonsense, and in turn the president agrees to tell all and tell the truth! It's really not fair for the president to have to testify in front of a hostile grand jury he is the target of, and while under the threat of criminal indictment for a meaningless perjury in a dismissed civil case where the testimony in question was itself declared inadmissable. This would be a fair deal, and in fact, may be a deal that has already been secretly made. Why else would the president have agreed to testify? Without such a deal, I'm certain Starr would indict the president for perjury and obstruction of justice and/or recommend impeachment no matter what Clinton says.


--Michael Castellano, Brooklyn, New York, Aug. 13

'Slither Out Of Town'

If the man (President Clinton) had any character, he would slither out of town and not say a word after his testimony.

-- Jeff Lenz, Yakima, Wash., Aug 13

'No Moral Base'

I believe that Clinton should not appear before the public because he will lie again and why should the American public believe him now? He has lied all his life and will continue to lie since he has no moral base.

-- Stephen Walker, Aug. 13

'We Don't Want To Hear About It'

Regarding the grand jury testimony, President Clinton should follow the advice of his lawyers and ignore that of his political staff. He doesn't have to say a thing to the public. We don't want to hear about it.

-- C. Duffek, Kiel, Germany, Aug. 13

'An Honorable Leader'

... As journalists know, sex and scandals generate profit. If this blatant waste of taxpayer dollars can only disclose sexual encounters and a lie about it, thank heavens there is a human being in the Oval Office.

There have been presidents in the past who have been involved in scandals detrimental to the security of this country and people went to great lengths to protect them.

Mr. Clinton remains an honorable leader in my view. So it is time that Republicans and their backers stop trying to impede the progress and processes that the Clinton Administration represent.

-- Archie L. Bailey, Downingtown, Pa., Aug. 13

'His Foolish Actions'

I believe Bill Clinton should FINALLY be truthful, as difficult as that might be for someone who believes his own lies and is prompted by his liberal followers to continue to do so. However, I personally do not think this should allow him to "get off." Just because he would come out and say, I was wrong, I lied, etc. does not mean he should just be forgiven without some kind of consequences. Would you or I? Why should the laws be curtailed for, OF ALL PEOPLE, the president of the United States? Wrong message!

I don't believe he has the backbone to admit to anything but, yes, I'd definitely have more respect for him and recognize that would take real guts, if he did so. But I don't go along with the "great job" scenario; personally I feel he has done nothing in his second term except try to stay on top of all his legal problems.

Maureen Dowd wrote a good editorial in the S.F. Chronicle today about how sad it is that his presidency has come to this and how much more he might have been able to accomplish had he not used such poor, selfish judgment. It is he, Bill Clinton, who is responsible for his foolish actions, not Ken Starr, not people who hate Arkansas, not a right-wing conspiracy! He should have respected the highest office in the land and the American people, before giving in to this type of behavior or at best been discreet! And I also believe this is about coverup of a very suspect pattern of behavior by this administration since being in the White House. I feel the best thing he could do, is resign. He would resign if he truly loved his country.

P.S. I also don't believe his favorable polls!

-- Jan J. Dickson, Montara, Calif., Aug. 12

'Take The Privacy'

Whether I did it or not is a private matter. What I say about it is a public matter. What I have said until now to the public is true. I swear by God and our Constitution.

Therefore I ask everyone to ask themselves, whether this is a public matter or a political attempt to take the privacy out of the life of the American presidency today and in the future.

-- Peter Schmiegelow, Alleroed, Denmark, Aug. 12

'Only Two People In The World Know'

Only two people in the world know if Clinton lied in his first testimony. If he told the truth and nothing happened then he can stay with his testimony in righteous anger (as he should) and know he has nothing to fear from DNA testing.

If, however, he knows something did happen then he knows what DNA results will be, which mean he has three choices:

1. Tell the entire truth, use "mea culpa" approach.

2. Lie under oath to a grand jury and probably be impeached. (voted by House, not passed by Senate).

3. Tell partial truth, refuse further testimony to protect wife and country, remind attorneys he is not under subpoena and can refuse to testify further. Use same-day TV appearance to convince public he has been honest and nothing further is to be gained by carrying the matter any further.

My money is on #3 or some slight variation thereof.

Dan Layton, Aug. 12

'DNA On The Dress'

He should tell us why he never told the American people that the possible DNA on the dress could never be linked to him.

-- Bill Dingwell, Aug. 12

'A Really Stupid Thing'

Clinton should say, "I have not only done a really stupid thing, I have followed it up by lying about it. I have been wrong-headed, and persisted in my errors, compounding them month after month by lying repeatedly in my attempts to evade responsibility for my sins. I regret my weakness and my folly. I know the financial costs of the investigations made necessary by my denials are vast, but even more regrettable is the example I have set for the nation. I beg forgiveness of the American people, and ask that they not use my transgressions as an excuse to stray from the straight and narrow ideals of our Christian faith."

-- Carol M. Carson, Aug. 12

'Not Say Anything'

Unless he has broken the law he should not say anything!!!

--Jeff George, Aug. 12

'A Fireside Chat'

President Clinton should tell the truth as he knows it, not as his detractors think. Should testify for only one day (the Supreme Court ordered that his duties must not be interfered with) and get back to what we hired him to do.

The president should hold a TV-type fireside chat Monday night so that we can see and hear him and not have the pundits tell us their version.

Ken Starr has demeaned our form of government, our country, our president and should be investigated for using such bad judgment and with having a personal agenda. He is not worthy of the title of judge and should be disbarred for his lack of integrity and ethics.

-- Sydelle Zabow, Aug. 12

'Sanctimonious BS'

Here's what he should say:

"I apologize for disgracing the office of president of the United States, for dragging the American people through this sordid affair far longer than was necessary by litigating every manuever and assassinating the character of the OIC and everyone who testified to my perjury, subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to circumvent our election laws for re-election, and chronic abuse of power -- especially in my relations with women. I am truly sorry. Therefore, I hope you will accept my resignation and I ask you to pray for me and my family, whom I have deeply embarrassed and disappointed."

Here's what he'll probably say:

"I want to talk to the American people. I'm going to say this again. I did not do anything legally wrong. While mistakes were made, the endless partisan attacks of Republicans forced me to seek relief for my frustration where maybe I shouldn't have, but I never expected Ken Starr and the Republicans to drag you all through my personal life for their own selfish political gain. I'm sorry they did that. I hope you will join with me in calling for a new ethic in Washington, and an end to the poisonous partisan politics of personal destruction, which Ken Starr, Linda Tripp, Newt Gingrich and his evil minions have engaged in. Let's talk about important issues. Let's have real debates. But let's not politicize the past. It wouldn't be right for our children."

Or some such sanctimonious BS.

Oh, well.


-- Bob Calco, Bay Village, Ohio, Aug. 12

'If Nixon Can Be Rehabilitated'

After his testimony, I believe the president should offer to resign if the grand jury subsequently decides there is enough evidence to indict, or Congress seriously takes a look at impeachment based on the report of the OIC. I think he will put some dignity back into the presidency if he admits his misdeeds and removes himself from office.

I've heard the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal open say that Starr is going too far. However, there are similarities in both cases, alleged lies, covering up evidence, refusal to turn over evidence, and use of executive privilege. I think it's time for the president to end all this for the good of the country, and put personal issues aside. If Nixon can be rehabilitated, so can Clinton eventually.

-- Lawrence Harris, Peoria, Ill., Aug. 12

'Rein In The Imperial Presidency'

Starr's investigation seems like an odd way to achieve an overdue reduction in presidential power. However, the cold war is dead and gone; it is time to rein in the imperial presidency. Congress will be asked to reassert the balance of power outlined in the Constitution. It will be interesting to see if they have the political will to do so.

-- Gerard Griffin, Friendsville, Pa., Aug. 12

'The Tobacco Lawyer, Starr'

It's amazing how the tobacco lawyer, Starr, has successfully diverted our attention from the tobacco industry with inquisitions to find anything on Clinton. And all this while tobacco companies escape financial harm and prepare new ways to hook the next generation around the world. Which side really has a moral problem in this soap opera?

-- James P. Wright Jr., Aug. 12

In Other News

Thursday, August 13, 1998

Poll: Public Wants Clinton To Testify
Lewinsky Dress Test Results Are Washington's Biggest Secret
Jury Selection Continues In McDougal Embezzlement Trial
Grand Jury Hears More Secret Service Testimony

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