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Ford Urges a Public Reproach of Clinton

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Monday, October 5, 1998; Page A13

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 – Former president Gerald R. Ford today called for a public rebuke of President Clinton over his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky instead of impeachment proceedings.

In an essay published in today's editions of the New York Times, the Republican said he had no particular interest in "rescuing" Clinton, who is a Democrat, but wrote: "I do care, passionately, about rescuing the country I love from further turmoil or uncertainty."

Ford became the 38th president in 1974 after President Richard M. Nixon resigned during an impeachment inquiry over the Watergate scandal. Ford later pardoned Nixon for any federal crimes he might have committed as president.

Ford, who spent 25 years in the House of Representatives, described a "harshly worded rebuke as rendered by members of both parties," televised and delivered in the well of the House, as a more appropriate punishment than a monetary fine or impeachment.

By accepting the rebuke, Ford wrote, Clinton would "accept full responsibility for his actions. . . . No spinning, no semantics, no evasiveness or blaming others for his plight.

"Let all this be done without partisan exploitation or mean-spiritedness. Let it be dignified, honest, and above all, cleansing. The result, I believe, would be the first moment of majesty in an otherwise squalid year."

The House Judiciary Committee will vote Monday or Tuesday on whether to recommend to the full House that it open a formal inquiry into whether Clinton should be impeached.

© Copyright 1998 Reuters

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