Area residents react to Clinton scandal

August 18, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

Gary Jones, back at work after a nine-year layoff from Mack Trucks in Hagerstown, doesn't want to see President Clinton impeached for fear of what it might do to the economy.

"When things are good, you just don't mess with it. We've had our bad times with bad presidents. We don't need to get into that," said Jones, 50, of Hagerstown.

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That's not to say that Jones condones the inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky to which Clinton admitted in a televised address Monday night.

"It's adultery. What can you say? He lied to the public. I wish it wouldn't have happened," he said.

People across the Tri-State area on Tuesday were trying to sort out their feelings about what Clinton said in the address.


Reaction ranged from shame and disappointment to indifference over what some felt should be a private matter between Clinton and his family.

Ruth Maxey, 87, considered herself a Clinton supporter until Monday.

"This has really put a black mark on his reputation as president. I know we're all human and we do some things we shouldn't. But, after all, he's the leader of our country and he should set a good example," said Maxey, a resident of Williamsport Retirement Village.

"It's nothing that hasn't been happening to presidents all through history, except that the media has made this one an issue," said Lisa Poole, 32, a chef at Casey's Restaurant and Lounge on South Antrim Way in Greencastle, Pa.

Others said they were able excuse the president's personal conduct because they feel he is doing a good job leading the country.

"It's like President Clinton said, it's gone on far too long and let's get over it," said Steve Livesay, 19, a student at Hagerstown Community College.

Livesay said he feels special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation has gotten out of hand, and has thought about writing to Clinton to let him know that someone cares.

Richard Schroyer, a cook at Tony's Pizza on South Antrim Way in Greencastle, said, "If Hillary is OK with it, then I am, too. After all, he is human."

Some said they can forgive Clinton because he wasn't deceiving them about something critical to the country's future.

On a break from a construction job, Jim Calimer of Waynesboro, Pa., said Clinton's affair was morally wrong, but it should remain a private matter.

Hagerstown Community College biology professor Bernard Murphy said he was disappointed, but not surprised that Clinton "misled" the public about the affair.

"I sort of expect that from politicians," said Murphy, 46, of Hedgesville, W.Va.

But others said Clinton needs to be disciplined for his behavior.

"He tried to hide something that he couldn't. I think he should be punished for it," said Harold Wise, 46, of Clear Spring.

Some felt that Clinton should step down.

"I think he should resign," said Marlene Stockslager, who was shopping for groceries in Greencastle. "We should be able to look up to our president."

"It's pretty sad for him to do something like that. He should resign, be impeached or be made to pay personally," said Sam Wagaman of Chambersburg, Pa.

"It just makes us a laughingstock," said Mary Donat, 94, a resident of Williamsport Retirement Community.

Clinton's speech made Alan Line, 18, wonder what else the president could lie about.

"I don't like the president and I have zero respect for him," said Line, of Hagerstown, who will be a student at HCC this fall.

"I, personally, see shades of Nixon and Watergate in his speech last night. Instead of apologizing to the country, he went on the offensive against Starr," said Mark Wolfe, a prosecutor in Washington County.

"I think he'll scoot by like he always does," said Liz Campbell, 35, of Greencastle, a mother of four children. "It's a shame what our country has to go through now, hearing about our president having an affair. I can't even let my children watch television."

"I'd say he's been messing around. Being president he should show higher standards," said Cathy Burkett, 31, of Mercersburg, Pa.

Elizabeth Dlhosh, 34, of Greencastle, said, "I think people who voted for Clinton should use their heads. Obviously I wasn't one of them. I think he'll get away with it."

Clinton's speech was the topic of conversation at beauty shops Tuesday morning.

"I felt like he should have come clean before this. He looked very stressed out," said Shirley Brashears, 62, who was getting her hair done at Hairport 3 on Dual Highway.

Many of those asked said they thought whatever happened between Clinton and Lewinsky was none of the public's business.

But Helen Weaver, 47, of Maugansville, said Clinton made the issue a public one when he allegedly conducted the affair in the White House.

Staff Writer Richard F. Belisle contributed to this story.

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