President still high in polls

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The Independent Online
THE DAY after becoming the first president this century to be subject to a trial by the US Senate, Bill Clinton left his lawyers and congressional placemen to fight his corner in Washington and flew to Detroit to exult in the continued good health of the economy.

His "away-day in Motown" to celebrate 93 months of growth and the "longest peace-time expansion on record" was the latest example of the business- as-usual policy he has pursued since the start of the Lewinsky scandal almost a year ago.

It has been credited with keeping his approval rating so high and helping to fend off calls for his resignation or removal. On Thursday, when the Senate opened the impeachment trial, Mr Clinton's job-approval ratings, as measured in a CNN poll, stood at 63 per cent.

But the significance and uncertainty of the trial may be starting to take a toll. Since his defiant rally in the White House Rose Garden on 19 December, the day the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against him, Mr Clinton has appeared at times preoccupied and distracted.

He has regained none of the weight he lost in the early months of last year and his face looks almost craggy.

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