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Virginia Democrats Face Debate on Clinton

By R.H. Melton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 1998; Page A16

RICHMOND, Sept. 16 – Leaders of Virginia's Democratic Party are bracing for a potentially embarrassing debate this week on whether to endorse a resolution condemning President Clinton for having a relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky and "directly lying to the people of Virginia" about it.

Paul Goldman, a former state Democratic chairman, wants the party's Steering Committee to endorse a resolution he drafted criticizing Clinton. Senior party leaders rejected the idea today, dismissing it as little more than a publicity stunt.

Nevertheless, the Steering Committee, which meets here Friday, likely will debate the idea of passing a Clinton resolution.

Goldman did not return telephone calls today, but his two-page proposed resolution outlines his case against Clinton, saying the president's failure "to tell the truth under oath . . . undermines the confidence Virginians have in our entire governing process."

"President Clinton must be held accountable to the same rule of law and morality that would apply to Virginia's elected officials or any other Virginian," Goldman's resolution says.

Besides Goldman's resolution, the party committee also probably will debate a milder statement that would condemn Clinton's behavior but include supportive language, committee members said today.

Goldman, who holds no Democratic Party office, tried to prod the Steering Committee into embracing earlier resolutions on ethical reforms in the legislature and on Virginia's tobacco industry, but he was rebuffed on those occasions and will be again this time, key Democrats said.

"It's overkill," said Jeffrey E. Kelso, party chairman for the Richmond area. "It's an effort by Goldman to get quoted some more."

Daniel S. Alcorn, of Falls Church, party chairman for the 11th Congressional District, agreed. "I don't think that resolution is going anywhere. This is Paul's way of getting his name in the paper, by proposing something controversial or outrageous."


© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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