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Rev. Jackson to Lead Impeachment Protest

Jackson,AP Rev. Jesse Jackson is flanked by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) as he announces impeachment protest. (Gail Burton — AP)
By Victoria Benning
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 14, 1998; Page E07

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday that he will lead a rally on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday as Congress convenes to debate articles of impeachment against President Clinton. The rally will urge lawmakers not to remove the president from office.

Jackson was joined by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and leaders of groups representing women, organized labor, civil rights and the clergy in announcing the rally scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the west steps of the Capitol. They urged Americans to form car pools and caravans to attend the rally.

The House is scheduled to begin debate Thursday on four articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee. Jackson said the Republicans pushing for impeachment have "shown a reckless disregard for the people's will." He and the other leaders urged Americans to call their representatives and make their voices heard.

Polls show that a majority of Americans do not believe Clinton should be removed from office but favor censure instead. A Democratic proposal that would have given Congress that option was defeated by the judiciary panel.

"They seem to want blood . . . a dagger in the heart," Jackson said of Republicans pushing impeachment. "We deserve more mature leadership than that."

Jackson and other leaders said that the Clinton affair already has diverted Congress's attention from important issues facing the country and that continuing the process would further immobilize the country.

"You don't have to be a pollster or a pundit to know that the people of this country are ready for us to move on," said Kim Gandy, executive vice president for the National Organization for Women. "The president's behavior, as offensive as it is to women and the people of this country, does not rise to the level of impeachment."

Gandy predicted that women's organizations will be marshaling their forces in support of Clinton this week. Women cast the deciding votes in both the presidential and midterm elections.

"Every woman in this country needs to call her representative to stop this three-ring circus going on in the House," Gandy said.

Norton said the impeachment process is a special affront to District residents, who do not have a vote in Congress. Their votes helped put Clinton into office, she said, but they will have no say in whether he gets to stay there. Norton said if she had a vote in the House, she would vote for censure.

D.C. Council member Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8) joined Norton in praising Clinton for what he has done for the District and urged D.C. residents to show up in force Thursday.

"We have no vote, but we do have a voice," Allen said, adding that Clinton "is the best president the District of Columbia has seen in the 20th century."

© Copyright The Washington Post Company

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