Kelly: I BELIEVE
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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