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Wednesday October 7, 1998

Congress Rousted by White House
Extensive Clinton-Gore hassle of House Dems to vote against impeachment

By Amy Williams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON DESK - Joseph Lockhart, the latest White House spokesman, was under heavy pressure from press journalist's questions when he admitted president Clinton had been heavily involved in contacting House Democrats to urge organized resistance to an open-ended impeachment inquiry voted by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Lockhart also refused to substantively address questions about White House pressure on House Democrats to stall the impeachment process today.

There were other glitches apparent in Lockhart's press briefing on Tuesday when president Clinton's refusal to submit to a drug testing came up. Press members wanted know why the president has not been tested for drugs even though all other members of the White House are required to submit to the test.

Evidence of a widening gulf between Democrats and the White House surfaced after closed door sessions Tuesday, according to congressional sources, as key Democrats openly exhibited the deep divide separating them from the White House agenda on the upcoming vote Thursday. Meanwhile, moderate Democrats announced their plans to support the open ended impeachment protocol.

Making matters worse, Lockhart in a desperate move on Tuesday to short circuit the House vote, accused Republicans of seeking " embarrass the president!" It has been learned that president Clinton has been engaging in a last ditch daily effort to obstruct congressional procedures by 'calling in favors' and 'counting votes' he believes are needed to blunt the point of the House impeachment inquiry.

The White House strategy is not working. And the president's poll numbers are not translating into Democrat victories in the November.

Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt(D) said at a caucus meeting "... [W]e are falling on our swords for a vote we're going to lose?"

"We're all over the place," said House representative Gene Taylor(D), who has called for Clinton's resignation.

White House aides told reporters that the Clinton lobbying machine begins each day with a meeting in which names are given to a team of telephone callers, who include deputy chief of staff John D. Podesta, Greg Craig, and Gore aides Ronald Klain and Kay Cass Stevens.

Even worse, the White House appears to have been padding polls they claim to show that "...Democrats will not be hurt by voting against the GOP impeachment resolution."

One of the polls cited by the White House, however was a survey for the Republican National Committee that pollster Bill McInturff said was less encouraging for the Democrats than they were claiming.

House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey(R) told reporters the impeachment inquiry will have wide latitude to explore wrongdoing by the White House. "These are the things we need to know ... This pattern is so well documented ... with respect to Ms. Lewinsky, many of us believe that there is reason to demonstrate ... that pattern was played out in the earlier things as well."

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