- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2000

President Clinton yesterday complained that his demand for an apology from Republicans who impeached him was not meant to be published until after the election, when he calculated that it could do no harm to Al Gore's presidential campaign.
But the president's discussion of impeachment in an interview with Esquire magazine was distributed over the weekend, infuriating both the Clinton and Gore camps because it reminded voters of Clinton scandals in the final days of the vice president's struggling campaign.
"I was promised faithfully that that interview would be … released after the election," Mr. Clinton snapped with obvious irritation in the Rose Garden. "And I believed it."
The magazine's editor-in-chief, David Granger, strongly disputed the president's assertion.
"Esquire violated no agreement with the White House," Mr. Granger said last night. "As for the timing of its release, there was no embargo requested by the White House."
Mr. Granger said Esquire "had no formal agreement with the White House regarding either the interview or the article accompanying it, other than that the president would be the cover subject of the magazine's December issue."
Mr. Clinton, who was further criticized for posing for a provocative photograph, with his legs spread apart and a mischievous smile on his face, was asked by a reporter why he thinks "congressional Republicans should apologize to the country about impeachment."
"I doubt if you've read the whole interview, or you wouldn't have asked the question in that way," he said. "I would just urge the American people, if they're hearing all this talk, to read exactly what was said."
Mr. Clinton did not say he had been misquoted in his sharp scolding of the Republicans in the House who voted to impeach him.
"Unlike them, I have apologized to the American people for what I did wrong, and most Americans think I paid a pretty high price," the president said. "They never apologized to the country for impeachment. They never apologized for all the things they've done."
Asked about the Esquire article on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," the Republican presidential nominee, George W. Bush said last night that his party does not owe Mr. Clinton an apology.
"I think we ought to move on," the governor said.
Yesterday, Mr. Clinton was clearly eager to change the subject.
"I don't think it's appropriate for me to discuss any of this until I'm doing the wrap-up on my administration," he said. "Right now I think the American people should be focused on this election."
To that end, Mr. Clinton continued to stump enthusiastically for Mr. Gore, urging 250 black religious leaders to get out the vote during a speech last night at the White House.
The president returned Mr. Gore's compliment from the day of impeachment, when the vice president pronounced his boss "one of our greatest presidents."
"The vice president has demonstrated conclusively since the convention that he is an independent person, that he will be his own president," Mr. Clinton said last night. "But I can tell you what I know from eight years: He is a good person who will be a great president."
Mr. Clinton warned that failure to elect the vice president could result in a Republican sweep of the federal government.
"What about the role of the president that is not just the doer, but the stopper?" he said. "Would it be a good thing if the Republican Party had the White House and the Senate and the House, with no one there to say no?"
Mr. Clinton made clear his belief that voter turnout could determine the result of the election.
"We've got to go out and whip people up," he said. "Make no mistake about it: Not voting is a decision. That's a decision to let somebody who disagrees with you have their way."
Mr. Clinton is making an all-out, weeklong effort to rally the black vote for the vice president. Earlier yesterday, he joined black entertainers Queen Latifah, Sinbad and Will Smith and Hispanic star Jimmy Smits on a 45-minute radio show to encourage a heavy vote.
On Sunday, Mr. Clinton rallied voters from the pulpits of two black churches.
Asked yesterday about Mr. Clinton's warning to black churchgoers that electing Mr. Bush would be a "terrible mistake," Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes responded that it was "an offensive thing to have said in a church. It doesn't sound like a very appropriate thing to have said in a house of love."
Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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