Jackson Leads Rally Outside Capitol
Washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, December 17, 1998
Several thousand people – praying, cheering and hoping to derail an impeachment process that many believed is unstoppable – gathered Thursday morning at the Capitol for a rally organized by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.
In a cold, brisk wind, protesters carrying signs and banners supporting President Clinton filled the steps on the west side of the Capitol. Organizers, who also included labor and other groups, had hoped to draw about 5,000 people. They attributed the smaller turnout to the delay in the start of the congressional impeachment debate caused by the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Still, Clinton supporters came on buses from up and down the East Coast.
Melody Higgins, a research nurse, said she drove from Columbia, Md., to deliver Congress a message, but believed impeachment advocates were not listening. "They're not," said Higgins, who was attending her first political rally. "They've already said they're not."
Speaking for nearly 20 minutes, he called for a "sense of proportional justice" for Clinton, and for a "consideration of the opinion of the public" by Congress. He said the American people spoke on the impeachment issue at the polls on Nov. 3, when they surprised many political observers with their support for Democratic candidates.
"Frankly, we thought that was enough," Jackson said.
He led the crowd in a chant of "Reprimand, not impeachment."
Two protesters, Kristen Kennedy and Zina Gray, said they used vacation days from their jobs at the National Cathedral to attend this, their first political rally. Both were steadfast in their defense of the president.
"I know why he lied," Kennedy said. "He lied to protect his family."
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