Debra J. Saunders

 Clinton was correct in his assertion that Judge Susan Webber Wright found "no merit" in Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton. The judge was right: Jones failed to establish that she suffered economic damages after (and if) then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton made crude advances toward her, then a state employee. The judge didn't say Clinton did or didn't do it.

 It's interesting to note that, while seeming to talk off the top of his head, Clinton smartly dispensed with the term "exonerate" when he mentioned Jones. If the Jones case was so wrong, asked former Deputy U.S. Attorney Victoria Toensing, "Why then did Clinton reach a plea agreement with (special prosecutor) Robert Ray in return for no charges being brought?" (Clinton admitted to misleading prosecutors and accepted a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license and a $25,000 fine on his last day in office.) No exoneration there.

 It's odd. After all the pre-show hype about how contrite Bill Clinton was, the word on Bubba's mind was "exonerate." Contrite? Asked about his pardon of gazillionaire financier Marc Rich, Clinton said he regretting the pardon because he took heat for it, but, "Nobody's yet made a case to me that it was the wrong decision."

 Does Clinton really expect the public to believe that no one ever told Clinton that pardoning fugitives rewards criminals fleeing the justice system? Clinton groupies, no doubt, have been reading this column and muttering to themselves that no matter what facts undermine Clinton, polls showed that voters supported him, and that voters had nothing but contempt for Clinton's over-the-top critics.

 This is true. Most voters believed that Special Prosecutor Ken Starr's report was indefensibly invasive and were put off by the large number of investigations into the Clinton administration. Of course, Clinton's genius has been in getting the public to root for him even when everyone knew he probably was lying. So why stop now?

Debra J. Saunders

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