One important public relations insight to emerge from Condit's ABC interview is that if you are ever in the position of having the public think you're a murderer -- cold, brusque self-righteousness may not be the best tone to take. Next time, try groveling self-debasement.
The strongest argument for Condit's innocence now is that he is such an idiot, it would be miraculous if he could pull off a jaywalking offense without being arrested in five seconds.
Prior to the Chung interview, an FBI profiler gave me his checklist of Things to Look For. Condit hit almost every one of them. The Chung interview could be used as a training tape in profiler class. (As Condit's public relations agent might say: It was a "home run!") The only liar's tropes Condit avoided were: lack of eye contact and incessant arm crossing. But you could see he managed to quell these mannerisms only with the exertion of Dr. Strangelove resisting the Nazi salute.
Among the behavioral tics that got check marks, Condit kept giving long, gaseous speeches on irrelevant points, while providing only short, curt answers to germane questions.
Condit rambled at length, for example, about his precise position on the Clinton impeachment. He babbled about what exactly he had said, the timing of the Starr document release, what Newt Gingrich was up to back then ("let me finish -- let me finish!"), why Condit took the position he did, which is not how it was being described in the press at all, and he was really working himself into a heated stem-winder until Chung finally managed to cut him off, saying, "We aren't talking about that right now."
But when Chung asked, "Did you kill Chandra Levy?" Condit's complete answer was: "I did not." That's it. "I did not." Not: This has been the greatest nightmare of my life, Connie, unimaginably bad, but please believe that whatever mistakes I've made I am not capable of killing another human being, etc., etc. Or something to that effect.
After the interview, the FBI profiler noted that Condit had studiously avoided describing any contact he had with Chandra -- even nonsexual contact. Condit never said anything about having picked Chandra up, driven her to work, invited her over or called her on the telephone.
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