Starr Went Too Far; Reagan & Bush Like Clinton?; Hillary the Idol
1) George Will asked about
recalling pizza versus oral sex and Tim Russert wondered if Clinton might
seek professional counseling.
2) NBC relayed how Starr's
report was called "worthy of...the inquisition" in France. At
home, it's causing "harsh" rhetoric.
3) Starr went too far,
contended Barbara Walters, Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley. Phillips:
"Should the President be subjected to that kind of
embarrassment?" Pauley: Why so "adversarial"?
4) Everybody does it, NBC
argued, claiming many Presidents, including Washington, Reagan and Bush
wandered sexually. "Ronald Reagan was quite a man about
5) Countering "the
assault on his presidency," Jane Pauley oozed that Hilary "does
what she does best, she goes to work." Brokaw blamed "all
sides" for destructive "self-righteousness."
6) Geraldo Rivera dismissed
the report as a "low blow" which is "all about sex and sex
lies," not important matters.
7) Letterman's "Top Ten
Other Impeachable Offenses."
>>> CNN's John Holliman, dead at
49. Holliman, one of the "Boys of Baghdad" who has been covering
space issues recently and had been picked to co-anchor, with Walter
Cronkite, CNN's coverage of John Glenn's return to space, died
Saturday morning in a car crash in Gwinnett County, Georgia. He was a
familiar face on CNN having signed-on as a Washington reporter when the
network began in 1980. CNN has posted an obituary and tribute on its Web
site. Go to: http://www.cnn.com/US/9809/12/holliman.obit.02/
Best questions of the weekend.
George Will to
Clinton lawyer David Kendall on ABC's This Week:
"He [Clinton] could remember being alone
with Ms. Lewinsky when she was delivering pizza but not when she was
delivering oral sex?"
Tim Russert to
White House Counsel Charles Ruff:
"No less than five women have come forward
and complained about the President's sexual behavior. Is there any
consideration given, being given by the President to seek professional
Clinton lawyers were grilled on ABC's This Week and NBC's Meet the
Press about Clinton's unique definition of sex. On Saturday, because of
college football, the ABC and CBS evening shows were bumped and tennis
eliminated CBS again in the east on Sunday. But the Starr report aftermath
dominated the three broadcast networks shows that aired on Saturday (NBC)
and Sunday (ABC and NBC).
-- NBC Nightly
News, Saturday, September 12:
Keith Miller checked in with the reaction
overseas, noting at one point: "In France, Le Monde described the
report as 'a monster...worthy of the reports of the inquisition...where
deviants and heretics were hunted down to the depth of their
Woman in Paris: "It's horrible. I hate
Kenneth Starr and I think it's horrible for Clinton but, because he
loses credibility about the world."
Next war let's
save Belgium and skip France.
From Indiana Jim
Avila looked at the Starr report from the campaign trail:
"...Bedford is the heart of the 8th
District, a region familiar with raw politics. Limestone made the area's
reputation, but it's nickname is the bloody 8th, stained with a history
of bare-knuckled politics -- an image anything but softened by today's
Republican incumbent John Hostetler on stage in a
debate with his Democratic challenger: "I continually hear veterans
talk about a Commander-in-Chief that they can not any longer trust."
-- Sunday, September 13:
ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News
dedicated over half the show to Starr's report, beginning with a run
down of what the lawyers said on the Sunday talk shows. ABC ran three
stories on public reaction around the country. Both featured stories on
how churches greeted the news. ABC anchor Carole Simpson announced:
"At churches all over the country today, the President and his
self-admitted moral lapses, were the topic of sermons and prayers. As
ABC's Steve Osunsami reports, there was forgiveness but also
Over on NBC,
Kenley Jones opened his piece: "In churches from one end of the
nation to the other, prayers were offered today on behalf of President
Clinton and the nation. And the message from the pulpit in many of them,
like the Brookins Community AME church in Los Angeles, was about
Minister: "We're sitting around wondering
what Bill Clinton did behind closed doors. I could care less. I could care
less. God knows. God knows. God is the judge." (I assume he meant
"could not care less.")
Jones did go on to
highlight tougher assessments, including a soundbite from New York
Has Starr gone too far? That was a common question Friday night as some
network stars revealed their initial reaction to Starr's report,
portraying him as the one out of control.
-- On Friday's
20/20, ABC's Jackie Judd provided a thorough overview of Starr's main
conclusions. Barbara Walters then interviewed Judd, posing these three
"When you read this report it is so
salacious, it is so graphic. There will be many people who will feel
it's disgusting, wonder what they'll tell their children. There could
be a backlash against Ken Starr. I asked the prosecutor's office today
why it had to be so salacious and was told that the answer is in the
report." (Judd explained how the details were needed to show how
Clinton's denial of sex didn't match what happened.)
"Is Ken Starr now finished Jackie. Does he
turn out the lights, close the doors and go home?"
"Jackie, isn't it ironic that this started
off with Whitewater and there is nothing in this report about
-- During a
special two-hour Dateline on Friday night Stone Phillips demanded of guest
Bill McCollum, a Republican Congressman from Florida:
"Did this report have to be that detailed,
that explicit? I mean you cringe when you read it. Does the Congress need
it, do the American people need to hear it, should the President be
subjected to that kind of embarrassment?"
Later, after a
profile piece on Starr, Jane Pauley talked with NBC legal analyst Jack
Ford about Starr's approach:
"Jack, when the investigation turned from
real estate to Monica Lewinsky did the special prosecutor have to go
there, did he have any discretion to say, 'that's really not
"What about the report. He was obligated to
write a report and deliver a report to Congress. Was he also obligated to
make it as adversarial as it turned out to be?"
As opposed to
Clinton who is so cooperative.
-- No matter what
Clinton does, he cannot deflect Al Hunt's anger at Ken Starr. On
Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN the Executive Washington Editor of the
Wall Street Journal declared:
"Let's not pretend for a moment that for
all the legitimate criticism of President Clinton which there ought to be,
let's not pretend for a moment that the Starr report is a balanced,
judicious presentation. It's not. It is a partisan prosecutor with some
zealous aides who's trying to make a case against a guy he
Sort of like Hunt
feels toward Starr?
Bring everyone down with him. Why just focus on Clinton when you can
impugn past Presidents? Indeed, Friday night NBC argued that 14 of 41 past
Presidents, including George Washington, Ronald Reagan and George Bush,
have had affairs or had questions raised about their sexual propriety.
two-hour Dateline reporter Rob Stafford ran through the allegations
against several of the 14, starting with Washington who supposedly carried
on with his best friend's wife. Others he cited: Thomas Jefferson,
Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower
and John Kennedy. After noting that Carter admitted to "lust" in
his heart, Stafford forwarded this vague charge about Reagan and raised a
never substantiated allegation about Bush:
"Before he settled down into his political
career, and his marriage with Nancy, Ronald Reagan was quite a man about
Hollywood. And stories even surfaced about George Bush and a long- time
government employee. Stone Phillips asked him about his personal life
during a Dateline interview in 1992."
Phillips in the 1992 interview: "Have you
ever had an affair?"
Bush: "I'm not going to take any sleaze
questions, I gave you a little warning."
Stafford: "But the assault on President
Clinton's character has taken on an entirely new dimension, which has
given rise to concern over the very office he occupies..."
"Assault" on Clinton's character. Clinton had admitted his
misdeeds. It is NBC which has assaulted the past Presidents by equating
what they did with Clinton's improper relationship in the workplace with
a powerless subordinate and by raising never substantiated charges against
NBC's pro-Hillary crusade continued Saturday night and instead of
blaming Clinton's seven months of lying and continuing legal word games
for the decline of the political climate, Tom Brokaw held both parties
accountable for "bickering" and "self-righteousness."
The September 12
CyberAlert detailed Andrea Mitchell's September 11 Nightly News story
portraying Hillary as a victim instead of as a co-perpetrator of the lies.
Jane Pauley picked up on her theme Saturday night, September 12. In
another two-hour Dateline special at 9pm ET, titled "The President
and the People," she checked in on the plight of the First Lady. The
"he" in this quote I think refers to Bill Clinton as Pauley
passed along the White House spin on the Today interview instead of
suggesting Hillary owes an apology for her "vast right-wing
"....She had believed his denials and indeed
last January, as she told Today show's Matt Lauer, he seemed to take for
granted that she wouldn't believe everything she read in the
Lauer in January Today interview: "So these
charges came as big a shock to you as anyone?"
Hillary: "And to my husband. You know he
woke me up Wednesday morning and said 'you're not going to believe
this, but' and I said 'what is this?' and so yeah it came as a very
Lauer: "When he said but, he said but
Hillary: "But I want to tell you what's in
Pauley: "Then silence. As the investigation
turned up the heat on friends and colleagues, even as he testifies under
oath before a grand jury, she says nothing. Balancing a threat to her
marriage against the assault on his presidency, she does what she does
best, she goes to work. In July, a bus tour to preserve historic
Following a clip from the glowing Maria Shriver
interview during that bus tour, in which Hillary recounted the outpouring
of support for her, Pauley continued: "By August people are looking
into her eyes for an idea of what she's going through..."
After noting the irony that the woman who said in
1992 she's not just standing by her man now is, Pauley asserted:
"Once vilified for ambition and political
overreaching when she took on health care, now she's admired for being
the faithful, loving wife."
two-hour show, Tom Brokaw blamed "all sides" and insisted that
somehow now was a unique time when the country could have found
"common goals." Brokaw opined:
"Despite the assurances from all parties
they can pursue this matter and still do the business of the nation, it
will be a discomforting distraction at several levels. It will harden and
it will widen divisions just at a time when America had the opportunity to
find common goals again. It will also keep good people of all ideologies
from entering the political arena be cause they are repulsed by the
bickering and the behavior and the self-righteousness on all sides. It
will, as it has already, lead to more disclosures about the private lives
of public people..."
The Starr report gave Geraldo Rivera hope as he rejoiced in how it's
only about "sex lies" and accused Starr of a "low
blow." Here's how Rivera opened the Friday night, September 11
Rivera Live on CNBC:
"...This avalanche of lurid allegations,
legal arguments and political pornography. The 455 sex-filled pages of Ken
Starr's brutal and unforgiving report to the Congress of the United
States of America. Hi everybody, I'm Geraldo Rivera. When you read the
incredibly detailed, at times sick descriptions contained in the report of
the independent counsel, you may be moved to search this document for a
fold-out centerfold of a naked woman, because no matter what weighty
language Starr and his staff used, this humiliating opus is about
seduction, stupid sex and a President so hungry for sex that he puts at
risk his marriage, his presidency and his legacy. But it is all about sex
and sex lies and as humiliating as the X-rated details are, therein lies
his only hope of political salvation. There is no Whitewater her. There is
no Travelgate here. There is not Filegate here. There is no talk of
talking points here. There is only talk of the sad, salacious story of
Monica and Bill...."
introducing former Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, Rivera
read from the report and posed a question:
"'According to Miss Lewinsky, she
performed oral sex on the President on nine occasions. On all nine of
those occasions the President fondled and kissed her bare breasts. He
touched her genitals both through her underwear and directly, bringing her
to orgasm on two occasions. On one occasion the President inserted a cigar
into her vagina. On another occasion she and the President had brief
genital to genital contact.' The question I pose for the Congresswoman.
Does this sound like Watergate? High crime or low blow?"
Blow may not be
the best word to use under the circumstances.
From the staff of the Late Show with David Letterman, a Top Ten list for
September 11 posted on the Late Show Web page that did not air on the
program, the "Top Ten Other Impeachable Offenses."
10. Asking Janet Reno, "How's the air
9. Using the word "scrumpdily-icious" during a State of the
8. Attempting to reheat unpopped microwave popcorn.
7. Whistling a "Backstreet Boys" song in public.
6. Ever, under any circumstances using the expression, "Cool
5. Your name is Charles, but you call yourself "Chaz."
4. Taking an intern up in an F-16 fighter plane to join the "7
3. Failure to "get jiggy with it."
2. Moving your late night talk show from NBC to CBS.
1. Whatever President Clinton did today.
And the only "extra" one from the
Web site worth repeating:
-- Committing enough dirty, despicable crap
to fill 36 boxes.
Okay, not so good,
which probably explains why it didn't make it onto the show. -- Brent Baker
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