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Clinton 'Seems to Have No Shame,'
GOP's DeLay Says

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 28, 1998; Page A06

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) sharply escalated his attacks against President Clinton yesterday, declaring that the president "seems to have no shame, no integrity, no dignity."

DeLay was the first member of the Republican congressional leadership to abandon a cautious approach to the sex and perjury controversy when he made a speech on the House floor last week rebuking the Clinton administration for its lack of honesty. Yesterday he went much further, attacking Clinton in very personal terms.

"When you have a president that in my opinion has cheated on his wife, he will cheat on the American people. When you have a president that can't tell the truth about his mistakes and own up to them, he won't be able to tell the truth to the American people. And he hasn't," DeLay told reporters.

Clinton aide Paul Begala countered: "People are telling him [DeLay] to leave the president alone, and yet he persists. . . . Even Mr. DeLay admits that in those [anti-Clinton views], he is out of step with his own district."

DeLay, asked if he is prejudging Clinton, said: "I am elected to judge. . . . And with what I've seen so far, I have made the judgment about this president that I've outlined."

DeLay flatly declared, "I believe Kathleen Willey," a campaign and White House volunteer who claimed on CBS's "60 Minutes" that Clinton fondled her in 1993 outside the Oval Office.

The majority whip said he was appalled by Gloria Steinem's contention in a New York Times op-ed piece that Clinton's behavior, even if accurately described by his accusers, is crude but not illegal because the president would stop when told "no."

Gesturing toward a female reporter sitting next to him at the breakfast meeting, DeLay said that for Steinem "to set a new standard where I can take this lady right here and grab her breast and she says, 'No,' and that makes it OK, just infuriates me."

DeLay said he decided to voice his anger at Clinton after he and his wife attended a training course with 30 other foster parents of abused and neglected children. The parents were asked to assess whether Mike Tyson, Magic Johnson and Clinton are good role models for children.

Tyson was rejected outright and Johnson by most of the parents, but, DeLay said, "I was shocked that my wife and I and one of the instructors were the only people in the entire room" who rejected Clinton as a role model. The rest "thought Bill Clinton was OK to do what he had been doing as long as it didn't affect us. And I mean the intensity of the emotion . . . they were intense in their feelings. That really upset me."

DeLay extended his critique to Clinton's comment during his current Africa trip that Americans "were wrong" to benefit from the slave trade. "Here is a flower child with gray hair doing exactly what he did back in the '60s: He is apologizing for the actions of the U.S.," DeLay said.

DeLay, who made clear that he does not approve of slave trade, said Clinton "didn't quite apologize for the chieftains in Uganda that were selling blacks to the slave traders, did he? He didn't talk about Idi Amin, who killed 500,000 people in Uganda. . . . He's very quick to apologize for other peoples' mistakes and he can't apologize for his own."

Researcher Ben White contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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