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NEW YORK
'It Is the Same Old Thing – Sex, Sex, Sex'

   

Around the Nation
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By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 23, 1998; Page A12

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y, Sept. 22—Even in a retirement home, who has the time, the patience or the stomach to watch hour after hour of the president being pestered about his sex life?

That is what retirees in their seventies and eighties said here at the Country House in Westchester about Monday's broadcast of President Clinton's grand jury testimony regarding his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky.

"I couldn't watch much of it because I'm sick of it. It is the same old thing -- sex, sex, sex. I don't think it is fair for any individual's sex life to become public," said retired Lt. Col. Nicholas Jubok Sr., 79, who said he is a registered Republican and could not remember if he voted for Clinton.

Jubok watched bits and pieces of the president's testimony and chewed it over at supper with other seniors in this private retirement home in Westchester County about an hour north of New York City. This morning he echoed the impatient exasperation voiced by many of the 90 elderly people who live here.

"Look, the senior element in this country knows about sex and about being human," said Jubok, who spent most of his career with the Air National Guard in Westchester. "We would say that the president went about as far as he should go when he admitted 'inappropriate behavior.' We say he doesn't have to admit to oral sex or masturbation or any of that stuff. That is just asinine."

The Country House in Westchester is a pleasant place. It costs $3,400 to $5,000 a month to live here and most of the people who do are white and well-off. Many are returned "snowbirds" who retired first to Florida and then, as they grew more frail, moved back north to be closer to their grown children.

Residents agree the Lewinsky scandal, as witnessed daily on the tube, has become the dominant soap opera of the year and the preeminent topic of gossip. Even those who say they hate it said they sneaked at least a peak on Monday.

As for character development in this soap opera, residents here said Clinton did himself a world of good with his grand jury testimony. They said he came across as an attractive and decent man who was genuinely sorry for fooling around with a young woman. They said the president was justly mortified in his reactions to questions about his semen stains or about sex games with a cigar. None wanted him impeached, none wanted him to quit.

"I don't know why they are doing this to Clinton," said Stella Ruza, 79, a widow who spent most of her life raising four children in Queens. "I may be wrong, but to me it looks like they are out to get him."

The soap opera dimensions of the scandal have shifted a bit, with the broadcast of the president's testimony, along with the release of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's report. Residents said they see Lewinsky less as a victim and more as a schemer.

Ruza said her opinion of Monica has plummeted, noting that she has heard reports of Lewinsky hawking a tell-all book and of her consideration of a $470,000 proposal for a fashion appearance in Italy. "I have five granddaughters," she added. "I wouldn't want any of them to behave like her."

William G. Freeze, 80, a retired lawyer from Bronxville, agrees that Lewinsky has done Clinton and America a disservice.

"This Miss Monica, she must have kept a very careful diary and yet I don't trust her," said Freeze. "I am a Republican, but I don't feel that should govern my feelings in this matter."

While Freeze said he is sick of the scandal, he admitted he will keep watching.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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