Republicans Speak Out On Clinton Controversy
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 30) -- After a week of little or no comment on President Bill Clinton's alleged affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, some Republicans are starting to speak out about the controversy.
Many Republicans at the 25th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Arlington, Va., spoke indirectly about the president's problems, while others are taking a more direct approach.
Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott said the GOP was wise not to
"get carried away" until all the facts are in. The Mississippi Republican went on to say that "honesty, credibility, integrity, decency, trust do make a difference."
Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), a possible candidate for the GOP nomination in 2000, was far less restrained. Ashcroft declared that if the president is guilty of the accusations of sexual improprieties and related illegalities made against him, "you have disgraced the office and you should leave."
Ashcroft added, "I call upon the president of the United States to tell the American people the truth."
Former Vice President Dan Quayle, who spoke at the conference on Thursday, said Friday that if Clinton is lying about or trying to cover up an alleged affair with Lewinsky, he will have to consider resigning.
"Clearly if it is documented that he has been lying to the American people then that's a very serious matter and I would imagine that in that particular case -- though it's hypothetical -- that he would have to decide whether to resign or not," said Quayle. The Indiana Republican's comments came during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Quayle went on to say that until the facts are known, congressional Republicans should focus on the issues facing the nation.
Neither he or House Speaker Newt Gingrich made direct reference to the president's current troubles during their speeches at the conference on Thursday.
Instead both stressed that Americans are looking for leadership.
"As things become more unstable, people are going to want to look to somebody who cares about the nation first, who is patriotic first, who is solution-oriented first," said Gingrich.
The former vice president talked of a national spiritual crisis, saying, "America is hungry for creative, strong and yes, moral, leadership."
Quayle's speech touched on a wide range of topics including single parent families, gangs, youth drug abuse and abortion.
During the 35-minute speech Quayle criticized Clinton for claiming responsibility for the health of the economy which, according to Quayle, was "authored" by Ronald Reagan. He also called on Congress to enact a flat tax, and asked the conservative audience to speak up for the middle class.
On a separate note, Quayle called on lawmakers to reinvest in national
"The world is still a dangerous place," he said. He used Russia as an example saying that the former Communist country still possesses about 50,000 nuclear weapons. He said that while 99 percent of them can be accounted for, "that leaves 500 missing."
"We have got to begin to move toward deployment of a missile defense system," Quayle said.