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Go to Destination: Scandal!

The Hooker, Line And Sinker

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 4, 1996; Page B01

Sherry Rowlands, the suddenly famous Virginia call girl, is taking all the credit for the downfall of presidential adviser Dick Morris. She says the Republicans had nothing to do with it.

"The only person in the world I knew politically was Dick Morris," she told the syndicated tabloid show "Hard Copy" in her first television interview. "Who do you call? I mean . . . you don't go in the phone book and look up Bob Dole." The two-part "Hard Copy" interview is scheduled to air on Baltimore's Channel 2 tonight and tomorrow night at 12:05 a.m. .

As for Morris's downfall, Rowlands said: "Someone as intelligent as he is should have kept his lip buttoned when he unzipped his pants. I mean, how can you maneuver worlds, and he can't even control what he's doing in his own room with a paid lady?"

Morris's resignation was announced hours before President Clinton delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday night. His departure came after the Star, a supermarket tabloid, published allegations by the $200-an-hour prostitute that she had a long-running relationship with Morris. The Star, which says it paid Rowlands less than $50,000 for the story, made her available to "Hard Copy." A spokesman for the program, which often pays for interviews, declined to say whether Rowlands was paid.

In an interview with Time magazine published yesterday, Morris again declined to address the allegations, "even if this episode destroys me." He said he would not be advising Clinton informally: "I've sent myself out of the game. I'm not going to run the campaign from the locker room."

His wife, attorney Eileen McGann, posed with her husband for a Time photographer. She told Time she was "very upset" about the Star report but that "I thought it would be destructive to ask about the details and try to find out what was true. I'm an adult. I accepted Dick's apology."

Time's piece was its second straight cover story on Morris, the first person to be accorded such prominence since O.J. Simpson. Newsweek also gave cover billing to Morris's downfall.

In the "Hard Copy" interview, taped last weekend with co-anchor Barry Nolan, Rowlands said she went public because "it has to be told, whether I'm a call girl who'll blabber or whatever they want to call it, fine. But wake up, America. I mean, if he told me, who else did he tell?"

Asked about Morris's wife, Rowlands said: "I'm sure this is hurting her, and was not meant to hurt her. He's the one who hurt her, not me. . . . He loves his wife -- that's why he would pay me . . . to come see him. That makes him feel he is not cheating on his wife. This is business as long as he's paying for it."

She quoted Morris as saying: "My wife probably has an idea that I fool around, but she really doesn't have solid evidence. . . . She does tell me if I need to do that, please be discreet."

Rowlands quoted the political consultant as saying of his influence over the president: "They all know who holds the leash . . . that's around Clinton's neck."

Rowlands also recounted an episode in which she said Morris let her listen in on a phone conversation with the president:

"Hillary answered the phone and she said the president was exercising at the moment and she would get him . . . and when [Clinton] came back he sounds really mad . . . and he said, 'Look, Dick, I would prefer you not use this phone anymore. You can understand Hillary is upset, my wife is not well, you know with all this Whitewater trial and everything, she is not well. You know the regular lines, do not call the private residence anymore.' And he was embarrassed and he said, 'I'm sorry, sir' and hung up."

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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