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Carville To Wait, Watch Starr


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 6) -- Seems the attack dog is still off his leash. Democratic political consultant James Carville says he isn't calling off his assault on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's allegedly "partisan" behavior.

In an interview on CNN's "Inside Politics," Carville said he would continue to raise money and keep watching Starr, who was appointed by the Justice Department to investigate President Bill Clinton's involvement in Whitewater, Travelgate and the FBI file flap.

"I'm not backing off at all," Carville said. "What I said was that if Starr would stop giving political speeches, would stop representing political enemies of the president in court, would stop leaking to reporters, and conduct himself in a professional manner and do his job, that I wouldn't run a television spot."

"I'm going to have everything in place," Carville said, "so if he shows up representing a cigarette company, or shows up giving a political speech as he's done before, or shows up leaking stories here and that kind of stuff, and what appears to be...very unprofessional behavior for a prosecutor, we'll ratchet it up."

Carville said his group, the Education and Information Project, would defend the president on a number of different fronts, "not just Mr. Starr, though that seems to be generating the most heat here."

Carville denied reports that he had been asked by the White House to launch the campaign. "But I think the president agrees with me that sometimes he doesn't receive a vigorous enough defense to his views. So I'm not being encouraged. I don't need to be encouraged. I'm 52 years old. I don't need to ask anybody for permission [for] what I do."

"No one has told me to cease and desist," Carville said, nor does he expect such a call.

Carville's moves against Starr have raised eyebrows and tempers all over Washington. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) told CNN's "Evans and Novak" that the president should step in. "He should advise him to stop it. It's out of order, it's disingenuous. Mary Matalin's husband can do better than that." Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Clinton should "call off his attack dogs."

Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) has written a letter to Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, asking him to stop Carville, charging that Carville's efforts seek to influence an ongoing judicial process.

Carville said his actions are protected by the First Amendment, and that he is merely trying to influence public opinion. "I see no way where Ken Starr is exempt from the First Amendment. At all," Carville said.

Carville said he wouldn't try to stop Starr's activities in a legal forum. "I have a political difference with Mr. Starr. I don't think he's a criminal. I just think he's a right-wing partisan advancing a right-wing agenda."

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