Clinton's 'Lapse': Your Reactions
In a matter of hours after President Bill Clinton's confession of a "wrong" relationship with Monica Lewinsky, we got thousands of e-mail messages. We're still going through them, but here's a first sample of reader reaction.
If you'd like to comment, send us an e-mail and be sure to include your name and home town.
'A Habitual Liar'
I think that since Mr. Clinton admitted he not only knowingly lied under oath and to the American people at large, but also knowingly "mislead" his aides, family, friends, political party and anyone willing to not give the issues a second thought, he should be removed from the office of president if he does not have the decency to resign.
In any language other than Clintonese this man has violated the principles of the office he was elected to uphold. He has broken the law. He has demonstrated no remorse. He assumes no responsibility. He says the words, but anyone who has ever dealt with a habitual liar can see right through him. I hope and pray his morals and standards are not representative of the general character of American society. I hope and pray the American people do not allow this man to continue to represent America. He is an American nightmare. Clinton is the personification of what all decent people aspire NOT to be. He deserves no more of the American people's understanding.
-- Janice Geib, Conyers, Ga., Aug. 18
'This Ludicrous Investigation'
The real lapse in moral judgment is that of the Congress and Kenneth Starr keeping up this ludicrous investigation into unimportant personal nonsense purely to gain political leverage. It is just another indication of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Congressional GOP and their panic that someone may take away their hold of the Senate and House.
-- Don Foshey, St. Clair Shores, Mich., Aug. 18
'Every Criminal Regrets Getting Caught'
I listened to the words of the president and even read the transcripts of his words.
He said that he "regrets" misleading the American people but he was not apologetic. Every criminal "regrets" getting caught but does that change the criminal? It was sad to see that his primary "desire" was to protect himself. This clearly indicates his motives -- me first. This is not the response of a people's president to serve and to be accountable.
The president has made his bed! Remember Gennifer Flowers, think of Paula Jones and now you see the confession of Miss Lewinsky. This is a repeat offender that cannot be trusted and had a "critical lapse in judgment." This came from our president. This man has truly tarnished the Office of the President, federal workers and women of America. Sexual harassment should not be tolerated even by the president. No man is above the law.
As an American, I would like to see his removal from the Oval Office. This president looked me in the eye through the television, lied and withheld the truth for seven months. Will he pay back the costs of delaying the investigation? He cannot be trusted. When will he have another "critical lapse in judgment."
There is a higher judge than Judge Starr that the president should be concerned with .... and He knows the truth.
-- Mark Hansen, Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 18
'Lying Is Sometimes Appropriate'
I would like Clinton to be someone other than who he is.
He is who he is. And I am NOT satisfied with that or how he has dealt with the multiple slanders and attacks against him for six years.
1. The establishment media does not report "truth." We are ... lied to by people who are given a televised forum every day.
2. No citizen should be asked to answer the questions which Clinton allegedly lied in response to.
3. Lying is sometimes appropriate.
-- Larry Doores, Warren, R.I., Aug. 18
'He Has No Shame'
I was disgusted with Clinton's speech last night. They talk about the dignity of the Office of the Presidency and how it should be protected; we're way past that. Clinton has done more to diminish that dignity than any president (maybe even more than Nixon).
He has no shame. Sure, he wants this to end. "I'm sorry, so let's just leave it at that.". He says he's responsible, but he still doesn't want to accept any penalty for his actions. If I could say something to him it would be, "Please, Mr. President, do the right thing -- step down.".
-- Jim Brett, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 18
'Show Some Discretion, Mr. Starr'
The president has explained and apologized for this incident. It is now time for this costly, no-holds-barred inquisition to come to an end. There is no there there to Whitewater and the investigation into the president's private sexual life should never have been undertaken. Show some discretion, Mr. Starr, and give us back our nation and our president.
-- John Taylor, Aug. 18
'Anger, Denial And Arrogance'
What a disappointment. I was stunned by his anger, denial and arrogance. This could have been a perfect opportunity to put this behind him by showing some sort of remorse.
-- Jim Brown, Alexandria, Va., Aug. 18
'We All Fall Short'
No one in this world can deny the imperfection of man. Not even the holiest, nor the greatest of all. There is simply no way perfection can be met for we all fall short in a way or another.
However, it is sad to read of so many Americans actually labeling their president during this period of stumble. President Clinton, like any other man, has done something inappropriate, but the emphasis should be on his courage to acknowledge his mistake ...
The United States of America does face already a lot of problems and is continuing its awakening with higher growth rates during this presidency. Does anyone acknowledge that? The world is facing an economic uncertainty, but why is everyone so only seemed concerned with Monica Lewinsky? Where is the rationality of judging and prioritizing? With due respect, I believe that we should as what President Clinton says, "turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century."
-- Christopher Fitzgerald, Singapore, Aug. 18
I am an American living in Spain. My wife and I have been here in Europe, first Holland, now Spain, for over five years. We've watched from afar the ceaseless self-flagellation that America puts itself through in the name of moral rightgeousnous but that anyone with half a brain can see for what it is. Political one-upsmanship, partisan politics, and the most immoral of activities of our leaders. If I make the other guy wrong it will mean that I am right.
The president's, as for all human being's, private life is their own. As President Clinton said in his speech, "It is between my wife, our daughter, and God." If all Starr can find on Clinton after the spending of an immoral amount of money is this personal transgression with his family, Starr should be forced to give an internationally televised speech regretting his country-damaging, self-promoting, gotcha waste of $40 million.
Both my wife and I are very happy that we do not live in the U.S. While most people see America as a land of opportunity (read economic) we find that America runs on a basis of us against them, better than you, moralistic righteousnous, don't do this because it's wrong rather than a do this because it is right approach to everything.
Let it go, America. Let ye without sin cast the first stone. The man has done an excellent job as president and has shown tremendous courage in not only focusing and doing his job under enormous distractions. And, he has not abused his presidential powers to his benefit or protection. I respect and admire and support President Bill Clinton more than ever before.
-- Gregg Westmoreland, Aug. 18
'This Day Of Confession'
I stand to sympathise with President Bill Clinton, on this day of confession. What he has done needs praise as only few presidents could come out and speak their minds, as well as apologizing. Let this chapter be closed.
-- Baba Chaudaku, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Aug. 18
His public announcement of taking full responsibility is a joke. Who else would be responsible but this over-50-year-old man taking advantage of a young 22-year-old intern. Monica is only a few years older than his daughter. The words "I am sorry" or "I apologize" do not appear in his statement. His speech was filled with lawyerspeak such as "I misled the American people" instead of "I lied to the American people." His speech did not appear to be heartfelt or genuine and ended with an uncalled-for attack on Starr. He sure could have given a better speech especially to those who have backed and supported this president despite his aversion to telling the whole truth.
-- Fred Pulis, Chincoteague Island, Va., Aug. 18
'What Happened To Character?'
It [the speech] started out well, then it went sour by blaming our justice system because of his behavior. I don't know who you guys poll, but I think Mr. Gore should take his place. We have too many other things going on in the world to be stuck on this mess. Mr. Clinton is not responsible enough for our highest position in the land. I can't trust him with more important things. What happened to character?
-- W. Scott Ramsey, Macon, Ga., Aug. 18
Tell the Republicans to start cleaning their own house before they start throwing stones.
Had the Republican Congress been doing the job they are supposed to do, such as looking into the safety of all our embassies world wide, we'd have several American's still alive. The American people did not elect a POPE, we elected a president. Let the man do his job and let the Republicans start doing the job they were elected to do -- and that is NOT wasting taxpayers' money on Ken Starr and his personal vendetta against Clinton. We will remember Republicans in ANY elections in the future -- local and otherwise. We were never affiliated with only one party -- but I think it's safe to say we will never again vote for a Republican anything!!!!!
Clinton must be doing one heck of a job if he's got all the Republicans running so scared that the only thing they can attack him on is a personal issue. Poor losers those Republicans!
-- William and Bridget O'Laughlin, Aug. 18
'Clinton Should RESIGN'
Our political leaders should also be moral leaders for our country; Clinton should RESIGN. I don't want to have to try to explain to my children what the president is doing.
-- Joan R. Mowery, Aug. 18
'Sucked The Last Bit Of Sympathy From Me'
I am totally insulted by his pseudo-apology! He spent 90 percent of the time blaming others for his predicament. Ultimately, it is HIS behavior that has caused staff and friends to have to cover for him all these months. How dare he place other innocent people in morally and legally compromising positions, and then have the audacity to blame it all on the special prosecutor and claim it nothing more than the result of a witch-hunt!!
I was willing to accept a simple, heartfelt apology for his lying and cover-up to the people and be done with the issue, but was shocked beyond belief by the lack of responsibility he showed for the far-reaching effects of his behavior.
And I DON'T mean the fact that he had an affair. I am referring to his consistent looking the American people in the eye time and again, and outright lying to us! And even more serious is the issue of lying under oath! He has now crossed the line into criminal behavior -- amazing! Has he no shame?! He has sucked the last bit of sympathy from me and I can no longer give him the benefit of the doubt. Anyone that lacks that much integrity and would sacrifice so many lives for something so stupid (lying about the affair, not the actual HAVING the affair - it's a given that most presidents aren't saints), does not deserve our respect nor should he hold a position as president of our country.
-- Amy Kremling, Aug. 18
'Five Minutes Of Legal Doublespeak'
After watching the president's statement Monday evening, I'm struck more than anything by the cynicism, posturing and hypocrisy on both sides.
On one side is Bill Clinton, hiding behind the family that he humiliated in front of the world with his lack of control and judgment. Not only did he betray his family, he betrayed the strongly felt beliefs of those who elected him. The remainder of his presidency will be ineffectual because of this and issues which he was elected to address will go ignored. He owes us much more than five minutes of legal doublespeak and half-truths.
Ken Starr, a Roy Cohn for the 90's, is equally fraudulent. Hiding behing the lofty principle of upholding the law, he is nothing but a partisan hatchet man employing legal tactics many prosecutors would be reluctant to use on a Columian drug lord. Is it nescessary to drag the parents of reluctant witnesses in front of a grand jury, ruin the lives and careers of innocent people and serve subpoenas on their children at school for the sake of a perjury investigation?
As pathetic and unprincipled as these two men are, the award for most cynical character in this sordid drama goes to Sen. John Ashcroft. He managed to appear on Larry King, on all the evening news broadcasts and every morning news show on Tuesday decrying the President's lack of principles. It's especially sickening that he has chosen to use this sorry episode to launch his 2000 presidential bid.
Is there anyone left in Washington who has integrity or principles or are poll numbers, campaign dollars and election results all that matters to anyone there?
-- Scott Hanrahan, New York, N.Y., Aug. 18
'Whoring Around In The White House'
I was raised to believe that the Office of President should be held by a person with the utmost morals and high integrity. Anyone who would disgrace the office as our current president has should resign or be removed. I can hear one of my teenage sons saying to me, "Well, the president did it, why can't I?" I sincerely hope that my wife and I have raised our sons with morals and the sense of integrity that is expected of every American, but it is difficult when you have a president whoring around in the White House. He lied to the American people. He knows it and we do to.
-- Mike Stevenson, Princeton, Ky., Aug. 18
'The Matter Of Perjury'
I feel bad for the country that our president has put us through this mess. I agree that this matter of infidelity is between him and his family and God. However, there is the matter of perjury and this is a matter of great concern for everyone that believes in the United States!
When the president lies to the American people about his affairs, most of us grumble about Washington but if the president lied under oath during the Paula Jones grand jury proceedings, the man belongs in JAIL! He is not above the law when it comes to the core beliefs of this country.
The news media is now stating that he lied to the people, Great, this is the truth but now they should start using the word PERJURY when they report on this, from now on!
-- John Dailey, Huntington, N.Y., Aug. 18