Clinton struggles to relaunch agenda

(First Edition)

AFTER a two-week respite from the scandal-obsessed atmosphere of Washington, first on holiday and then campaigning countrywide for health-care reform, President Bill Clinton has returned hoping to struggle free from the tangle of the Whitewater saga and to re-focus attention on his legislative agenda.

Congress, which also comes back today from its Easter recess, may give him a little help. On Capitol Hill - and even in the media - some of the steam appears to have escaped from Whitewater. Members also have a heavy workload, most notably in bargaining on the President's anti-crime bill.

Crime was the theme of Mr Clinton's weekly radio address on Saturday. 'In my travels this week, people made it clear to me they expect us here in Washington to take care of one job immediately: to confront the crime and violence that are tearing our communities apart,' he said. The bill includes the three-strikes-and-you're-out provision that would jail for life anyone found guilty of three successive serious violent crimes.

Though Whitewater fever seems to have subsided somewhat - the story, one columnist said yesterday, appears suddenly to 'have fallen off a cliff in the public consciousness' - elements of the saga still pose possible serious danger to Mr Clinton and may erupt at the very moment that his presidency has a chance to get itself back on track.

The core issues - the relationship between Mr Clinton as Arkansas governor and a failed savings and loan bank, the Madison Guaranty; what monies may have flowed from Madison to his campaign finances and to the Whitewater real-estate scheme; what cover-up of may have since have been attempted - are still to be raked over in congressional hearings later this spring.

Beyond those, however, new questions continue to surface about the morality, if not legality, of Hillary Clinton's past speculative financial dealings. In addition to the revelations of astonishing profits made in the cattle futures markets at the end of the Seventies, Time magazine is expected today to provide another tale of Hillary profit-taking that has to do with an investment she made in a cellular telephone consortium in the mid-Eighties.

Then there is the question of the 'bimbo eruptions'. That volcano has again been spewing salacious lava in some US tabloid publications for weeks, but remains mostly dormant in the pages of mainstream dailies such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The apparent reluctance of these newspapers to give credence, and column inches, to these allegations of sexual impropriety by Mr Clinton is itself almost becoming a news item. The Washington Post last week carried an advertisement from a group called Accuracy in the Media (AIM), accusing the newspaper of suppressing the claims of an Arkansas woman, Paula Jones, that three years ago she was improperly propositioned by Mr Clinton in a hotel room.

The Post said last week that it will look into stories about the private conduct of politicians and 'publish if we find it is factual, relevant to the person's conduct of public office or character'. That might soon put Ms Jones on the newspaper's front page for she has said she is preparing to sue the President over the alleged encounter. When she does, any relative calm the First Couple may for the moment enjoy could be shattered.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there