Outdoor Activities Outrank Indoor Dalliances
By Tom Kenworthy
Despite saturation coverage -- including a 38-page special section in the Denver Post that included the full text of Starr's report -- many people interviewed here as they set out to hike, climb and walk their dogs in the Rocky Mountain foothills were less than fully engaged in the political trauma engulfing the nation's capital.
It was hard to say whether that detachment reflected weariness with the drawn-out scandal or the characteristically Colorado view that everything, certainly public affairs, takes a back seat to outdoor recreation on a weekend morning. But among about 15 people interviewed here at Chautauqua Park, hardly anyone had gained more than rudimentary knowledge of Starr's explosive report or changed his fundamental views of Clinton because of it.
"All he did was cheat on his wife," said Mike Dahl, 29, a recent transplant from St. Louis who works as a lighting technician at a local theater. "Ronald Reagan did worse in Iran-contra. We basically should let him and Hillary [Rodham Clinton] work it out."
"Actually I haven't heard about it, but I plan to watch some news today," said Dave Gaulke, a 36-year-old software engineer, when questioned about the 453-page document released Friday. Gaulke said he voted for Clinton and wants him to remain president, regardless of the evidence compiled by Starr and referred to Congress for possible impeachment proceedings.
"In my mind, I don't see it being serious enough" to warrant resignation or impeachment, said Gaulke as he completed a morning walk with his Rottweiler.
Not everyone was so forgiving. Michelle Fossum, a sixth-grade teacher who took time to read the introduction of Starr's report this morning, said the investigation confirmed her long-held feelings about Clinton.
"I judged his character a long time ago," Fossum said. "I don't think it's just about sex. I think more will come out. He's not a very honest man. You are not dishonest in your personal life and honest in your professional life."
The debate over whether Clinton's actions constitute illegalities or merely personal immorality seemed crucial -- and still unresolved -- to some people here.
"My feeling is if he has done something truly illegal, they should start the impeachment process, but if it's just an immoral thing, they should not," said Larry Chiuppi, a pharmacist from New Hampshire who stopped here on a two-year odyssey across the United States with his wife, Nancy Raimondi. "If it's an impeachable offense, impeach him, if it's not, let's move on."
Americans, said Sharlene Hoornstra of Louisville, Colo., should be able to differentiate between the political and the personal. "If a guy is doing a good job in the White House, what he does with his [sex life] should not be our concern," said Hoornstra, a transcriber of court proceedings and CPR instructor. "It should be between him and Hillary. Half the guys in America screw around on their wives. Are they going to tell the truth? No. He's like any other guy."
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