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    Editorials Critical of Clinton

    By Ryan Thornburg Staff
    Monday, September 14, 1998

    Editorial writers for the nation's most-read daily newspapers are weighing in on Kenneth Starr's report to the House, and the reviews are overwhelmingly critical of the president.

    "Are you normal?"
    – George Will, asking Clinton lawyer David Kendall about "normal people's" definition of "sexual relations." (ABC's "This Week," Sept. 13)

    Editorial opinion in most of the largest newspapers, quoted below in order of circulation, leans heavily against Clinton:

    The Wall Street Journal: "We are quite prepared to argue that 'only sex,' as detailed in the Starr report as opposed to some truly private matter, is quite sufficient grounds for removing a President."
    A Call to Duty (Sept. 14, paid subscription required)

    USA Today: "He should resign because he has resolutely failed – and continues to fail – the most fundamental test of any president: to put his nation's interests first."
    A Matter of Integrity: Clinton Should Resign (Sept. 14)

    The New York Times: "David Kendall's insistence yesterday that the President's interpretation of questions concerning his sexual activities was in 'good faith and correct' is in no way supported by transcripts of that testimony. Mr. Clinton would be well advised to remember the hospital wisecrack: the operation was a success but the patient died."
    Justice or Mercy for Bill Clinton? (Sept. 14, registration required)

    Los Angeles Times: "The reservoir of approval expressed in the [L.A. Times] poll offers the White House a chance to realign its schizophrenic strategy, which cannot hold up for the long term."
    A Defense Without Sense (Sept. 14)

    The Washington Post: "Mr. Clinton's behavior is at the margins of impeachability."
    Low Crimes and Misdemeanors (Sept. 13)

    New York Daily News: "[D]riving Clinton from office for these offenses, thus reversing the will of the electorate, would be profoundly unjust, even if all the allegations are true. "
    Punishment Must Fit Clinton's Crime (Sept. 13)

    The Chicago Tribune: "Turning one's head and covering one's ears may be acceptable for children but not for adults in a democratic republic."
    Starr's Report, Clinton's Rebuttal (Sept. 13)

    The Chicago Tribune: "Even if President Clinton survives the immense embarrassment of Kenneth Starr's report and staves off the demands for his resignation or impeachment, he will hardly have clear sailing ahead of him."
    About That Other Investigation (Sept. 13)

    Newsday: "Calls for Clinton's resignation should also await a fuller airing of Starr's report and the White House's rebuttals."
    Big Trouble (Sept. 13)

    Chicago Sun-Times: "The high office of the presidency has been defiled and held up to ridicule by Bill Clinton.... But should President Clinton resign or be forced out of office by the Congress? We think not."
    Clinton Should Stay (Sept. 14)

    San Francisco Chronicle: "The Starr report, at the least, shows a stunning level of recklessness and arrogance by the president of the United States."
    The Clinton Scandal Spins Out of Control (Sept. 14)

    The Dallas Morning News: "No election should easily be overturned. Yet neither should a president escape accountability."
    President Confesses, but House Must Proceed (Sept. 12)

    The Arizona Republic: "Never before has the country been faced with such a challenge, and we must be fair and just as we pick our way through the reams of allegations, accusations and salacious scenarios."
    Congress Faces Immense Challenge (Sept. 13)

    The New York Post: "In short, the [Supreme] Court ruled, 'perjury is an obstruction of justice.' And nowhere in their many opinions on the subject did the justices ever add the words, 'except when it's only about sex.'"
    Is It Acceptable for a President to Commit Perjury? (Sept. 14)

    The Philadelphia Inquirer: "He should resign because, if he does not, his once-glittering agenda of centrist change faces a devastating setback in November's congressional elections."
    Time to Resign (Sept. 13)

    The Star-Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn.: "Indeed, if the names of sexually transgressing heroes suddenly were erased from all U.S. schools, public buildings, streets and Navy ships, there would suddenly be a lot of jobs for sign painters and stone carvers."
    The Starr Report: Americans Need to Be Calm, Focused (Sept. 11)

    Detroit Free Press: "The House decision to release Kenneth Starr's report on President Bill Clinton directly via the Internet put a stamp of legitimacy and importance on a medium that still seems hardly out of infancy."
    Public Information Takes Important Step Forward (Sept. 14)

    "Hillary Rodham Clinton has been perhaps the classiest player in the whole sorry mess surrounding her husband."
    The First Lady: She's Better Than Bill Deserves (Sept. 12)

    More Editorials From Other Newspapers
    Opinion in smaller-circulation newspapers was equally blistering, although some editorials called for caution:

    The Post-Dispatch, St. Louis: "If the American people are to judge Mr. Clinton, to forgive him or to impeach him, we have to engage more than our visceral reactions."
    The Peep-Show Presidency (Sept. 13)

    "This is still a country in which church and state remain separate. Doing penance for private sins is a spiritual matter irrelevant to public accountability."
    The Contrition Gambit (Sept. 13)

    "Mr. Starr sometimes stretches the facts and invents novel and disturbing theories of wrongdoing."
    Report Has Too Much Sex, Too Little Substance (Sept. 13)

    The Hartford Courant: "Yet another politician has been caught in, if not a lie, then a conspicuous act of hypocrisy. That politician is Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho."
    Pots, Kettles, Glass Houses ... (Sept. 14)
    ... And Hypocrites Abound
    (Sept. 14)

    "He may again pull off a Houdini-like escape from his latest tight spot, but he has lost whatever stature he had as a moral and credible leader."
    Mr. Clinton At Rock Bottom (Sept. 13)

    San Jose Mercury News: "When he first campaigned here six years ago, Clinton seemed too good to be true: a man of obvious intellect, radiating charm, he was both an articulate speaker and a good listener. Unfortunately, that first impression was too good to be true."
    Clinton Should Resign (Sept. 13)

    Albuquerque Journal: "Nowhere in the narrative of the report does one find one shred of moral concern by Clinton unlinked to concern about his political or legal future."
    Clinton Should Resign (Sept. 13)

    The Tampa Tribune: "But in his recent betrayal of the trust of his own supporters, this president has managed to tarnish even his own dull reputation."
    To Spare Country Further Trauma, Discredited Clinton Should Resign (Sept. 11)

    The Wichita Eagle: "No, Mr. Clinton is not the only villain here. But Mr. Clinton's actions, both reckless and devious, tower over all the rest."
    Nightmare (Sept. 13)

    The Oklahoman: "Wrong ideas and sinful living have cut us off from Thee.... Hear this our prayer and grant that we may confidently expect to see it answered in our time, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen."
    'Confess to Thee' (Sept. 13)

    The Seattle Times: "By himself and through his aides, he tried to make the public complicit in his misconduct by asking us to feel contempt for a lawful investigation and, worse, to pretend that immoral behavior by public officials was irrelevant."
    Resign (Sept. 13)

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The American people have been doomed to a guided tour of hell."
    Clinton Must Muster the Courage to Resign (Sept. 14)

    The Charleston Daily Mail: "Sickening."
    The President's Dishonesty Has Done the Nation Enormous Damage (Sept. 11)

    Ryan Thornburg can be reached at

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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