Originally created 09/06/98

President Clinton's 'road show': No more apologies! 090698 - The Augusta Chronicle



Had enough? We suspect most Americans have. President Clinton is turning his "apology" about the Monica Lewinsky affair into a regular road show, taking it to Moscow and Ireland. Where next?

The first non-apology apology was on nationwide TV Aug. 17, where he was obviously less contrite about the affair than he was angry at Special Counsel Ken Starr for exposing it.

The second time, at a ceremony commemorating the 35th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington, Clinton tried again to be "sorry," but came up way short. He joked about his Aug. 17 comments, talked about "forgiveness" but didn't actually ask for it -- and again hinted that Starr was more responsible for his difficulties than he was.

In Moscow, in his third attempt to explain his behavior, Clinton claimed that in his Aug. 17 speech he acknowledged he made "a mistake" and asked "to be forgiven." He did no such thing; neither of those words were even in that speech.

Yet there are still some on the White House staff (and in Congress on both sides of the aisle) who believe if a contrite president would just say "I'm sorry" and mean it, he could finally put this sordid mess behind him.

This was the message that Clinton pal, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., was trying to send when he broke party ranks to rip the president on the Senate floor Thursday -- prompting the president on his Ireland visit to again mumble something about being "sorry." (Sorry that he was caught.)

No more "sorrys," please. Three strikes, and you're out. Clinton has had four, and counting. Besides, he has been as "sincerely apologetic" as he plans to get. That was clear when he said in Moscow, he's "heartened" by the response of the American people to his apologies.

As long as he thinks grass-roots America is with him, the president is not going to bow to Washington political pressure to keep apologizing until he gets it right. And who would believe him even if he did?

He was a lot more sincere last January wagging his finger at the TV cameras and lying that "I never had sex with that woman" than he has been in any of his mea culpas.

Whatever his "job-performance" ratings, Americans no longer believe a word he says anyway. We've been lied to for seven months. Now Clinton is lying again about what he said Aug. 17.

We're sick of it. No more lies, no more apologies. All the scandals will play themselves out when Starr delivers his report to Congress. In the meantime, the president (because he's the only president we have) is right about one matter: He should get back to the people's business.