Talk of the Town - Many say Clinton will survive

January 24, 1998

Talk of the Town - Many say Clinton will survive


Staff Writer

Most Tri-State area residents polled Saturday think President Bill Clinton had an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky but don't believe it will affect his presidency.

Some feel that what a president does behind closed doors in the White House is his own business; that the only one really affected is his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Few said they believe Clinton will be impeached, even if he lied about his relationship with Lewinsky or tried to obstruct justice by telling her to lie about it.


Others say there isn't enough information to make a judgment, that there are too many unsubstantiated charges and that the press is sensationalizing the facts.

"The media is having a field day. One television station already has a logo calling it 'The President in Crisis,'" said Meredith Waite, a Shepherdstown, W.Va., shop owner.

Waite, 39, and Debbie Dickinson, 43, her business partner, are breakfast regulars at Betty's Restaurant in Shepherdstown. They were discussing Clinton over coffee.

"I'm outraged. the whole story is based on allegations and unsubstantiated charges, not facts," Dickinson said. "It reminds me of (Richard) Jewell, that guy in Atlanta that they tried to pin the bombing on."

A few booths away, David Miljour, a local chiropractor, was reading about Clinton in the newspaper. He, too, thinks there are too few facts to say if Clinton is guilty or a victim of dirty politics.

"I hope this blows up in the faces of those who are using the situation for political or selfish gain," Miljour said.

What about Hillary?

In the next booth, Sue Knott of Shepherdstown thought that Hillary Clinton is probably devastated by the charges. "But she'll stick by him until the end," Knott predicted.

Todd Grantham, 30, of Shepherdstown, said the flap won't hurt Clinton as much as some people think.

"He has the younger generation on his side. They're more forgiving," he said.

Ted Cyhanick, 37, had eight dryers going at a Martinsburg, W.Va,. laundromat. He said he's going through a divorce and can emphasize what Hillary Clinton is going through. "I'm mostly thinking about her and when they sit down at the table for dinner at night and she asks him, `Bill, what's going on. Did you do this?'"

Cyhanick said he doesn't know if Clinton will lose the presidency. "People may just look back on it in a couple of weeks and say so what."

Billy Hart, 40, was washing his big Ford pickup in the hand-wash bay of a Martinsburg car wash.

"Messing around like that is not like stealing money from the state or something," he said. "I think Clinton is lying, but he's a man. We may never know who made a pass at who."

Lisa Leabhart, 36, of Waynesboro, Pa., said Clinton is guilty of having the affair and of lying about it. "I don't think anything will happen. It's he said, she said and he seems to weasel out of everything."

"I could tell he was a womanizer the first time I saw him," said Dorothy Deibert, 34, of Waynesboro, Pa., as she was loading groceries in her car at a store in Hagerstown's North End.

"What he does on his own time has more to do with his wife than with the rest of the world," she said. "When it interferes with his job then it's a problem."

Clyde and Peggy Faith were taking their daily walk along U.S. 40, east Clear Spring on Saturday morning."It seems like there's always some kind of scandal, either sex or something, in the White House that causes problems for the country," said Clyde Faith, 52.

"If he did lie it could mean impeachment and that frightens me," his wife said. "Who can take him seriously now? How can he be effective after this?"

'It's only allegations'

John and Joan Badum were having lunch at Tony's Pizza in Greencastle, Pa. Both are Clinton supporters.

"Why don't they get on with the country and leave the poor guy alone," said John Badum, 69.

"So far it's only allegations. I'm not ready to make a judgment, but that (special Prosecutor Kenneth) Starr is a sharp cookie and that girl is only 24. I want to hear Clinton speak first. This is keeping the pope's visit to Cuba off the front page," said Joan Badum, 65.

Steve Mellott, 42, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., was putting a new carburetor on his son's 1986 Ford Escort parked on the street in front of his house Saturday.

"There are too many allegations not to believe it, but presidents are men and men are human," Mellott said. "I don't think this will hurt Clinton in the long run. It'll blow over."

Nick Wolff, 67, of Hagerstown thinks Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky. "Women in public life should expect things like that. If a man in public office embraces a woman or puts a hand on her shoulder then he's accused of sexual harassment," Wolff said.

Penny Miner, 36, also of Hagerstown, said if Clinton is guilty of having an affair in the White House, he shouldn't be in office.

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