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Monday, September 14, 1998
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Clinton should stay: Gore

WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (AFP, AP) — The US Vice-President Mr Al Gore has said Mr Bill Clinton has done "wrong", but does not deserve to be ousted from office.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Gore said Mr Clinton had accepted responsibility for his actions, admitted wrongdoing and sought forgiveness for misleading the public about his liaison with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"He has addressed the issues he needs to address," Mr Gore said.

Unlike the President’s attorneys, Mr Gore declined to attack independent counsel, Mr Kenneth Starr’s motives or blistering, sexually graphic report that was released to the public on Friday.

"While the President’s lawyers are dealing with the details and technical issues that are in the report, let me just say that I do not believe that this report serves as the basis for overturning the judgement of the American people in 1992 and again in 1996 that Bill Clinton should be their President," Mr Gore said.

Making a weekend swing through Portland and Seattle to speak on environmental issues and campaign for Congressional candidates, in a short statement to newsmen later, Mr Gore stressed he would not abandon the President in his darkest hour.

"For almost six years now, I have served alongside this President as he has led us toward unprecedented prosperity, toward solutions to problems we need to address," he said. "He is doing a tremendous job as President. I look forward to beginning to work with him as we continue to address the issues that face this country."

Meanwhile, the White House has issued a second rebuttal of charges that Mr Clinton committed impeachable offences, as asserted in a report by Mr Starr.

The new rebuttal says that after impaneling grand juries and leasing office space in three jurisdictions, and investigating virtually every aspect of the President’s business, financial, political, official and, ultimately, personal life, the office of independent counsel (OIC) had presented to the House a referral that no prosecutor would present to any jury.

The President "has admitted he had an improper relationship with Ms Lewinsky. He has apologised. The wrongfulness of that relationship is not in dispute. And yet that relationship is the relentless focus of virtually every page of the OIC’s referral".

Mr Starr’s referral never once mentions other issues it has been investigating for years — matters concerning the firing of employees of the White House travel office and the controversy surrounding the FBI files.

By contrast, the issue of sex is mentioned more than 500 times, in the most graphic, salacious and gratuitous manner.

The OIC "is asking the House of Representatives to undertake its most solemn and consequential process, short of declaring war; to remove a duly, freely and fairly elected President of the USA because he had — as he has admitted — an improper, illicit relationship outside of his marriage".

"Having such a relationship is wrong. Trying to keep such a relationship private, while understandable, is wrong. But such acts do not even approach the constitutional test of impeachment — treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," second rebuttal says.

"We have sought, in this initial response, to begin the process of rebutting the OIC’s charges against the President — charges legal experts have said would not even be brought against a private citizen. The President did not commit perjury. He did not obstruct justice. He did not tamper with witnesses. And he did not abuse the power of the office of the Presidency.

A new opinion poll yesterday said Mr Clinton’s approval ratings were on the rise and 63 per cent of Americans rejected moves to oust him despite a report laying out grounds for impeachment.

According to a new CNN/Gallup poll carried out after the release of the Starr report, 62 per cent of Americans retained a favourable opinion of Mr Clinton’s job performance, a slight rise over the 60 per cent who held the same opinion in a similar poll earlier in the week.

As many as 63 per cent of Americans believe he should keep his job, while 32 per cent say the President should be removed from office following the publication of the report.

LOS ANGELES: Paula Jones feels vindicated by Starr’s report to Congress on Mr Clinton’s relationship with a former White House intern, her former spokeswoman said.

"Had Paula not continued to be very strong and carry through with her convictions, we would have not known what a very disturbed President we have," Susan Carpenter-McMillan said.

"Paula Jones really was the one," Carpenter-McMillan said. "Had it not been for her, none of this would have been known.... without her lawsuit, he wouldn’t have perjured himself."back

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