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President's good deeds overshadowed

January 08, 2001

President's good deeds overshadowed



By MARLO BARNHART And RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writers


As President Clinton prepares to leave office in less than two weeks, Tri-State area residents have mixed emotions about the legacy he leaves behind after eight years in the White House.

"I will remember him as a president who lied to the American people," said Hagerstown resident Timothy Harner.

Admitting he's no fan of the outgoing president, Harner, 52, said the lying was a fatal flaw for him.

Tammy Kunkle, 42, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was firm in her support of Clinton, calling him a very good president.

"His domestic policies have been good," Kunkle said.

She also supported Clinton's efforts on a wider playing field of foreign affairs.

"At least he was trying to bring the Middle East situation to peace," Kunkle said.

Joan Raynor, 63, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., said she doesn't think Clinton accomplished anything in his two terms in office.

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"I will be interested to see how history treats him," Raynor said. "He was a bad example for young people with his morals and his lying."

Arthur Shirley, 51, of Tomahawk, W.Va., agreed that the Monica Lewinsky affair overshadowed everything else Clinton tried to do.

"Who wants a crook in the White House?" Shirley said. "I hope the new guy has some morals. ... He seems like a religious person."

Laura Angle, 29, of Hagerstown, thinks Clinton was an excellent president.

"But there will always be a stigma because of what he did and because he lied," she said.

Colleen Shoemaker, 48, of Williamsport, thought Clinton "has done some good for the nation. He was a good president.

"Everyone makes mistakes, even the president, but it (the Lewinsky scandal) will leave a mark on him," Shoemaker said.

Coriene Jackson, 74, of Hagerstown, said that at first historians will write about Clinton's failures then later they will write about accomplishments.

"I believe that's the way people think," she said.

Tyrone Chase, 38, of Hagerstown, thinks Clinton was a good president.

"He made mistakes and he should be forgiven for them. I wish he could be elected again," Chase said.

Faye Conley, 47, of Hancock, said she has little doubt how Clinton will fare when history looks at his presidency.

"I think Clinton will be remembered for the scandal," she said.

"I like Clinton," said Melissa Washington, 32, of Martinsburg, W.Va. "I think he has done a lot of good things for this country."

Mary Martin, 62, of Hagerstown, said she harbors a lot of animosity toward Clinton. She is upset over his executive order to put one-third of all public lands off limit to development.

"He had no right to do that without the approval of Congress," she said.

Al Knox, 69, of Hagerstown, puts his thoughts about Clinton into a favorite joke he loves to tell about the soon-to-be ex-president.

"This guy was fishing in the Potomac when a boat came by and tipped over. The guy in it fell into the water so the fisherman pulled him out and saved him," Knox said.

"It turned out to be Clinton, who was so grateful that he offered the fisherman a reward. Anything he wanted.

" 'All I want is a wheelchair', he said. 'Why,' asked Clinton. 'Because when I go home and tell my father who I saved I'm going to need one.' "

John Mallon, 53, of Greencastle, Pa., thinks it will be hard to predict what future standards of behavior for presidents will be when historians write about Clinton's legacy years from now.

"It ought to be dark," Mallon said.

"The Monica Lewinsky thing, that's going to be his legacy," said Karena Bivens, 34, of Mercersburg, Pa.

Phyllis Gray, 72, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she thinks Clinton has done some good for the country, pointing to his rapport with other world leaders.

"But his reputation is so bad," Gray said, referring to the president's personal life.

Jane Falkler of Hancock, who is in her 50s, said she didn't care for Clinton.

"Some think he is the greatest, but I don't believe he will be remembered for his good works," Falkler said.

Judy Miller, 63, of McConnellsburg, Pa., thinks time and history will forgive Clinton.

"They'll just see him as Hillary's husband," she said.

"He's going to have problems because of the Monica Lewinsky thing," said Diane Carson, 19, of Marion, Pa. "But I don't think people will remember it. It will be like it was with Nixon."

"Bush will never be able to stand up to Clinton," said Cas Rzomp, 85, of Nova, Pa., "Clinton has been in office for eight years and there was no recession."

Charles Jordan, 43, of Williamsport said Clinton made a joke of the presidency.

"But the economy was probably the best it's been in a while during his term, and he did reduce the deficit," Jordan said.

Asked about Clinton's legacy when he goes, James Neill, 38, of Hagerstown, came right to the point.

"Just so long as he goes," Neill said.

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