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NOTES ON THE WHITE HOUSE SCANDAL

The polls say the American public is tired of the scandal in Washington. I, on the other hand, am tired of polls and the American public. On one hand, people say they don't want to hear anymore about it but, on the other hand, they can't get enough of it.

Here are a few of my thoughts on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair:

What I'd like to see is a poll asking people which they have enjoyed the most, the Clinton scandal or the O.J. Simpson murder case.

Geraldo Rivera was running out of things to say about O.J. on his TV show when Monica Lewinsky came along and saved him.

The best story by far was the one about the necktie Clinton wore on Aug. 6, the day Monica testified in front of the grand jury. It was a tie Monica had given him and apparently the president wore it as some kind of a signal to her. He couldn't communicate any other way without being caught, and the tie was his way of saying they were still friends. And maybe, "So be kind to me in your deposition to the jury."

It didn't help because Monica didn't see Clinton wearing it until she watched the evening news when she got home that night.

The necktie, in a strange way, could have been too much for Hillary to take. You could tell by the pictures of the president, the first lady, the first child and the first dog leaving for vacation that Hillary was steaming. Chelsea was between her mother and father, holding a hand of each so they didn't have to touch each other. When they got on the helicopter and he reached out as if to take her elbow, Hillary pulled away and got on board without any help. She looked as if she were saying, "Keep your cotton-pickin' hands off me."

Hillary swallowed 12 years of Gennifer Flowers, the Paula Jones allegations, Kathleen Willey and who-knows-how-many others, and she might even have been getting used to Monica Lewinsky. But when her husband made that gesture to Monica by wearing her necktie as recently as this month, it may have been the last straw.

It would be some story if Hillary said she was leaving him, but you get the feeling that, in spite of everything, she loves him.

Chelsea looks like a great daughter.

The president says this matter is now "between me, the two people I love most, my wife and our daughter, and our God." I can't imagine that God would feel any friendlier toward Bill than Hillary does about all this.

The president called in the Rev. Jesse Jackson to intercede with God for him. Maybe Billy Graham wouldn't take the job.

Most Americans are still under the impression that impeachment means the president is forced to resign. Not true. The dictionary says "Impeach: To make an accusation against. To charge malfeasance in office before a tribunal."

Our Constitution reads: "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all Impeachments. . . . When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

"Judgment in cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, trust or Profit . . . but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to law." (The Constitution has all those capital letters in it.)

In other words, a president could be thrown out of office, then tried in court and sent to prison.

If the public thinks they're tired of all this now, imagine how they'd feel if it went that far.

Tribune Media Services

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