Maher, Steve (SD-MS) SMAHER at GI.COM
Wed Feb 4 12:08:00 MST 1998

By Michael Kelly
Wednesday, February 4, 1998

 I believe the president. I have always believed him. I believed him
 when he said he had never been drafted in the Vietnam War and I
 believed him when he said he had forgotten to mention that he had
 been drafted in the Vietnam War. I believed him when he said he
 hadn't had sex with Gennifer Flowers and I believe him now, when
 he reportedly says he did.

 I believe the president did not rent out the Lincoln Bedroom, did
 not sell access to himself and the vice president to hundreds of
 well-heeled special pleaders and did not supervise the largest,
 most systematic money-laundering operation in campaign finance
 history, collecting more than $3 million in illegal and improper
 donations. I believe that Charlie Trie and James Riady were
 motivated by nothing but patriotism for their adopted country.

 I believed Vice President Gore when he said that he had made
 dunning calls to political contributors "on a few occasions" from
 his White House office, and I believed him when he said that,
 actually, "a few" meant 46. I believe in no controlling legal

 I believe Bruce Babbitt when he says that the $286,000
 contributed to the DNC by Indian tribes opposed to granting a
 casino license to rival tribes had nothing to do with his denial of
 the license. I believed the secretary when he said that he had not
 been instructed in this matter by then-White House deputy chief
 of staff Harold Ickes. I believed him when he said later that he had
 told lobbyist and friend Paul Eckstein that Ickes had told him to
 move on the casino decision, but that he had been lying to
 Eckstein. I agree with the secretary that it is an outrage that
 anyone would question his integrity.

 I believe in the Clinton Standard of adherence to the nation's
 campaign finance and bribery laws, enunciated by the president on
 March 7, 1997: "I don't believe you can find any evidence of the
 fact that I had changed government policy solely because of a
 contribution." I note with approval the use of the word "evidence"
 and also the use of the word "solely." I believe that it is proper to
 change government policy to address the concerns of people who
 have given the president money, as long as nobody can find
 evidence of this being the sole reason.

 I believe the president has lived up to his promise to preside over
 the most ethical administration in American history. I believe that
 indicted former agriculture secretary Mike Espy did not accept
 $35,000 in illegal favors from Tyson Foods and other regulated
 businesses. I believe that indicted former housing secretary Henry
 Cisneros did not lie to the FBI and tell others to lie to cover up
 $250,000 in blackmail payments to his former mistress. I believe
 that convicted former associate attorney general Webster Hubbell
 was not involved in the obstruction of justice when the president's
 minions arranged for Hubbell to receive $400,000 in sweetheart
 consulting deals at a time when he was reneging on his promise to
 cooperate with Kenneth Starr's Whitewater investigation.

 I believe Paula Jones is a cheap tramp who was asking for it. I
 believe Kathleen Willey is a cheap tramp who was asking for it. I
 believe Monica Lewinsky is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

 I believe Lewinsky was fantasizing in her 20 hours of taped
 conversation in which she reportedly detailed her sexual
 relationship with the president and begged Linda Tripp to join her
 in lying about the relationship. I believe that any gifts,
 correspondence, telephone calls and the 37 post-employment
 White House visits that may have passed between Lewinsky and
 the president are evidence only of a platonic relationship; such
 innocent intimate friendships are quite common between
 middle-aged married men and young single women, and also
 between presidents of the United States and White House interns.

 I see nothing suspicious in the report that the president's intimate,
 Vernon Jordan, arranged a $40,000-per-year job for Lewinsky
 shortly after she signed but before she filed an affidavit saying she
 had not had sex with the president. Nor do I read anything into the
 fact that the ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson,
 visited Lewinsky at the Watergate to offer her a job. I believe the
 instructions Lewinsky gave Tripp informing her on how to
 properly perjure herself in the Willey matter simply wrote

 I believe that The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The
 New York Times, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News & World Report,
 ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS and NPR are all part of a vast
 right-wing conspiracy. Especially NPR.


 Michael Kelly is a senior writer for National Journal.

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