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Area people sound off on Clinton scandal

December 14, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

Tri-state residents appear to be split on the question of whether President Clinton should be impeached.

The Herald-Mail surveyed residents around the Tri-state area on Sunday, asking them if they thought Clinton should be impeached for allegedly committing perjury.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has sent four counts of impeachment to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Some have suggested he be censured instead for his actions.

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Many of those suggesting Clinton's impeachment said they were disappointed and disgusted by his actions.

"He has brought a lot of embarrassment to the American public," said Donald Tyler, 41, of Hagerstown. "He has let us down."

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"I am totally disgusted with him," said Pat Easterday, 54, of Boonsboro.

"He lied to the people," said Ray Meinelschmidt, 53, of Sharpsburg. While Meinelschmidt is a Democrat, he thinks Clinton should be impeached.

"Yeah, I think he lied," Franklin County Commissioner Cheryl Plummer said Sunday as she left the Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, Pa. She said, however, she did not have a reaction to the committee's decision.

"His dissembling about the whole situation doesn't help my efforts to support a fellow Democrat," she said as she left a performance of "A Christmas Carol."

"They're doing exactly what should be done," Richard Sanford of Catonsville, Md., said.

"Censure is not in the Constitution and impeachment doesn't mean conviction," Sanford said. He said he doesn't believe polls that indicate most Americans do not want Clinton to face impeachment.

His wife, Evelyn, said they were in Great Britain earlier this year and the first thing she was asked when getting off the plane there was about the president's problems.

"They've made a fool of us overseas," she said.

Mae Davis, 59, of Charles Town, W.Va. predicted impeachment will have dire consequences for both the stock market and members of Congress who vote for Clinton's removal. Davis added the impeachment case is based on a private matter and said Congress would be in trouble if the same standards were applied to them.

"If they cleaned house down in Washington they wouldn't have anybody left," Davis said. "They should just leave it alone and move on."

Several other residents agreed there is hypocrisy in the action.

Sam Keesecker, 48, asked why Clinton should be removed from office for an offense, infidelity, that others have committed without retribution.

"That was his private life and had nothing to do with his job," said Cindy Culbreath, 33, of Hagerstown.

She observed that President Reagan was not impeached for his role in the Iran-Contra controversy. Selling weapons to a foreign nation seems more serious, she said.

"All I can say is most of those people have probably done the same kind of bad stuff, but nobody found out," said Brian Houser of Chambersburg.

"With the economy as good as it is, even though he's not solely responsible for it, I can't see why anyone would want him out of office," Houser said regarding the president.

Others focused more on the allegations of perjury than infidelity.

Others have gone to jail for perjury. Why should Clinton be any different? asked Bill Pittsnogle, 50, of Hagerstown.

"I'm for impeaching him. ... I think he lied to the people and abused the office," Frank Reel of Harrisonville, Pa., said.

Reel said he believes the full U.S. House will vote to approve the articles of impeachment, which would result in a trial before the U.S. Senate.

Cindy Hess, 42, of Hedgesville, W.Va. said Clinton has lied too much and is not to be trusted. Hess said Clinton has made too many mistakes to remain in office.

"I hope the people see enough that he's harming us more than he's doing us any good," Hess said.

Several said they disapprove of his actions but think impeachment is too serious a punishment.

"I don't think he should be impeached. I think he's doing a good job. ... But I don't condone what he did," said Raymond W. Green of Chambersburg.

"I think he lied under oath," said Darryl Scuffins, 39, of Boonsboro, adding that he isn't sure if that warrants impeachment.

"It would be a big waste of money to impeach him," said Jeff Crampton, 40, of Hagerstown. Instead the country should focus on the "regular issues," particularly those involving governing the nation, he said.

Ron Robison, 56, of Hagerstown, said that while he doesn't like Clinton and didn't vote for him, the president's actions do not warrant impeachment.

"It all comes down to politics," Robison said. "The Republicans have been after him since day one." Robison added Clinton's actions in the Lewinsky matter were wrong and said he would support censure rather than impeachment.

Anthony Gugielmi, 34, of Marlowe, W.Va., said the investigation of Clinton has been a waste of time and money.

Gugielmi said Clinton should be punished for lying to a grand jury but said any action should come after Clinton is out of office.

"He should not be impeached," Gugielmi said.

Mark Guzick, 42, of Ranson, W.Va. called the situation "a joke that has gone too far."

Guzick said the Republicans' refusal to offer censure leaves the Senate no choice but to vote for or against impeachment.

"It's ridiculous," Guzick said.

- Don Aines and Bryn Mickle contributed to this story.

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