Barnes & Noblead

Home
AllPolitics
 

 Home
 News
 Analysis
 Community
 CNN.com

Related Stories
 Click here for more political coverage from TIME magazine.


Search


  Help

Clinton's Options

Even Houdini would get the shakes trying to wiggle out of this bind

Yes, I'm Very Sorry

Assuming he had some sexual relationship with Lewinsky, Clinton could admit it, ask forgiveness and say he lied to protect her and shield Hillary and Chelsea from public embarrassment.

Upside
People are forgiving. They might understand. Having sex is not a crime, and the perjury issue arising from his Paula Jones deposition might recede if he gave a full confession. There would be little left for Starr to prove, and Congress would have trouble investigating or impeaching him if a benevolent public were already fully informed.

Downside
He'd have to admit everything, and the public may not be that forgiving once hit with all the bawdy details.

Yes, But I Didn't Inhale

He could admit that he and Lewinsky engaged in some of the intimacies (such as "touching of breasts or buttocks") that were listed in the broad definition of sexual activities submitted to him in the Jones deposition. But he would deny that he had full-fledged intercourse or that he tried to get Lewinsky to commit perjury.

Upside
This explanation might mitigate the sense that he lied outright when he denied having a sexual relationship. And Monica has indicated that they did in fact stop short of full-fledged intercourse. If he offered a contrite apology, the public might believe him and forgive him.

Downside
He could be peppered with graphic questions when he testifies ("Exactly where did she touch you, sir?"), he'd still be exposed to a perjury rap, and he would gain little by producing a hair-splitting discussion of what really constitutes sex. And what if he had oral sex? Can he admit to that?

No, But It Was Complex

He could admit that he indeed had a "complex" and "close" relationship with Lewinsky, concede it was "inappropriate" but insist that it wasn't sexual. He could try to deflect questions about the personal details of his encounters, calling such queries indecent and inappropriate, and say it was up to Congress to decide his fate.

Upside
It would help explain the gifts, the visits and perhaps even the job hunt, and it might convince some people that Monica was fantasizing. A weary public might appreciate his reticence.

Downside
At the very least, trying to explain all the complexities is embarrassing, and it doesn't help him if there's independent evidence that he had sex. And if he skirted too many questions, Starr might serve another subpoena.

No, No, Never

He could continue to insist that he did not have sex with that woman.

Upside
Remember, it might actually be true, and people might believe him. It could come down to his word against hers. If there is no proof of sex, then there is no proof of perjury.

Downside
Monica's detailed testimony could be very incriminating; there may be corroborating witnesses; and don't forget that dress. Starr's report could be damning and the congressional hearings brutal.

In TIME This Week

Cover Date: August 10, 1998

Tick, Tock, Tick... ...Talk
"It May Blow Up On You"
The Democrat Who Would Pursue Clinton
What's in Starr's Files?
Clinton's Options
Magaret Carlson: With Women Like These...
The Art of Presidential Prevarication
Breakdown On The Road To History
The Notebook: No Monica Tell All?
The Hunt For Karadzic
Viewpoint: Says He's Nobody's "Slave"

TIME magazine
Tick, Tock, Tick... ...Talk

"It May Blow Up On You"

The Democrat Who Would Pursue Clinton

What's in Starr's Files?

Magaret Carlson: With Women Like These...

The Art of Presidential Prevarication

Breakdown On The Road To History

The Notebook: No Monica Tell All?


Archives   |   CQ News   |   TIME On Politics   |   Feedback   |   Help

Copyright © 1998 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.