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Going Weak in the Knees for Clinton

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 6, 1998; Page C01

A former White House correspondent says she was "quite willing to let myself be ravished" by President Clinton after she felt he had admired her legs on Air Force One.

Nina Burleigh, who covered the White House for Time, makes the confession in a Mirabella magazine essay on Clinton's attractiveness to women. It is a candid discussion of her feelings while playing hearts with the president and aide Bruce Lindsey in the plane's front cabin last year.

"The president's foot lightly, and presumably accidentally, brushed mine once under the table," Burleigh writes. "His hand touched my wrist while he was dealing the cards. When I got up and shook his hand at the end of the game, his eyes wandered over to my bike-wrecked, naked legs. And slowly it dawned on me as I walked away: He found me attractive."

She adds: "I probably wore the mesmerized look I have seen again and again in women after they have met him. The same silly hypnotized gleam was displayed on the cover of Time magazine in Monica Lewinsky's eyes."

In an interview, Burleigh, now a New York freelancer, said she in no way felt harassed or pressured by the president but that it was "not unusual for women" to swoon over him. What is unusual, for a journalist, is Burleigh's sexually charged declaration of support for Clinton. "I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal," she said.

But Burleigh says she was not "going easy on him" as a White House correspondent in 1993 and 1994, when she sometimes wrote about the Whitewater scandal, and never thought about his looks at the time. By last year she was a Time contract writer, filling in on the trip to Jasper, Ark.

"No doubt the president's lawyers and spin doctors would say I wishfully imagined that long, appreciative look," she writes. "But we all know when we're being ogled. . . . I felt incandescent. It was riveting to know that the president had appreciated my legs, scarred as they were. If he had asked me to continue the game of hearts back in his room at the Jasper Holiday Inn, I would have been happy to go there and see what happened."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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