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FIRST LADY REPORTEDLY URGED CLINTON TO SETTLE JONES CASE

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the president to settle the sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones although she believes her husband did nothing wrong, a news magazine reported Friday.

But President Clinton himself has decided to seek full exoneration of Ms. Jones' charges in court, U.S. News and World Report said.

Ms. Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, alleges that Clinton, Arkansas governor at the time, made crude sexual advances toward her during the 1991 encounter. The president denies the allegations and says he cannot remember meeting Ms. Jones.

The magazine, citing sources it did not name or directly quote, said Mrs. Clinton decided to endure whatever embarrassment might result in order to end the lawsuit and all its distractions.

Ms. Jones recently rejected a reported settlement offer of $700,000 and a statement from Clinton attesting to her character. She has said in the past she would only accept an admission of guilt by Clinton and an apology.

Gil Davis and Joseph Cammarata, her former lawyers, had urged her to accept the settlement offer and resigned from the case when she refused. Davis and Cammarata also have filed an $800,000 lien on any settlement or judgment she might eventually get.

Ms. Jones is now represented by the Dallas law firm of Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke.

U.S. News also published a poll showing that Mrs. Clinton's job approval rating had risen dramatically.

According to the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 59 percent of registered voters now view the first lady favorably -- her highest rating since 1993 when she and the president entered the White House.

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