Clinton scandal: First Lady stands by her man - again

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Hillary Clinton, the first lady who said that she was not the "Tammy Wynette stand-by-your-man type" - alluding to the tearfully loyal wife of an unfaithful tele-evangelist - finds herself playing just that role yet again. Tearful Mrs Clinton is not and has never been, and her public loyalty to her husband has been unswerving.

Over the weekend, as the allegations against the President continued, she was reported to be co-ordinating a team to defend him. It was Mrs Clinton, described by associates as the embodiment of the American expression "When the going gets tough, the tough get going", who was credited with bringing back to the White House two of the President's former advisers: Mickey Kantor, his former Commerce Secretary, and Harold Ickes, the razor- sharp former deputy chief of staff.

Mr Kantor is to lead his legal defence team, demoting, but not displacing Robert Bennett, the lawyer who has defended the President in the Paula Jones case. Mrs Clinton is rumoured to be unhappy with Mr Bennett's conduct of that case, in particular his failure to negotiate an out-of-court deal.

Exactly six years ago Mrs Clinton appeared on television with her husband and acknowledged difficulties in their marriage. Her performance defused the crisis caused by allegations that he had an affair with Gennifer Flowers and have until now innoculated Mr Clinton against recurrent charges of philandering.

Some say that Mrs Clinton's role in organising her husband's defence at the weekend was exaggerated in an attempt to draw on the credit from her tv interview six years ago. Not challenged, however, is her emergence as one of the few cool heads in White House during the current crisis.