WASHINGTON DESK - President Clinton's Uganda press conference and photo-op this morning turned sour as he refused to address a question from CNN Anchor, Wolf Blitzer. On the second day of Clinton's two week African tour Clinton was already ducking questions about sex and perjury allegations back home.
As Clinton was getting warmed-up to the crowd he announced a two-year $120 million U.S. taxpayer gift to Uganda he said would promote education and Democracy. In a rush of enthusiasm, Clinton added another $61 million to the gift as he explained that was to help African school children get proper meals.
However, the president's euphoria was suddenly interrupted as reality brought him up short as allegations of sex and cover-up back home surfaced in front of the world's television cameras.
Just as Clinton began to move into a photo-op with Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni,Clinton was asked by Blitzer to explain his decision to seek protection of a claim for executive privilege so White House aides would be permitted to hold their silence when independent counsel Ken Starr questions them about what they know of he Clinton's extra-curricular activities.
Clinton said '...That is a question that is being asked and answered back home by the people who are responsible to do that. I don't believe I should be discussing that here.'
In further questioning, Clinton, said he '...did not know anything about reports...' of attempts to raise executive privilege as a shield to protect first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's conversations with aides.
Clinton seemed to make a mental break when he cited what has become his majoritarian imperative, 'Well, I'm glad to be doing the business of the United States and the people. I have looked forward to this for years. I think most Americans want me to do the job I was elected to do, and so I'm going to try to do what most people want me to do.'
CNN reported that immediately before the confrontation, Clinton delivered a speech at a school in a neighboring village. The president said '...some of the mistakes the United States may have committed toward Africa in the past, specifically ... during the height of the cold war...seeking influence in this part of the world against the Soviet Union often didn't do the right thing.'
In Clinton's unprecedented admission he cited '... European-Americans received the fruits of the slave trade, and we were wrong in that as well. Although I must say if you look at the remarkable delegation we have here from Congress, from our Cabinet and administration and from the citizens of America, there are many distinguished African-Americans who are in that delegation who are making America a better place today.'
Earlier in the Uganda visit, Clinton was caught on CNN camera pushing the crowds back as he was pushed around by feverish Ugandans. He grimaced on camera and shouted at a Ghana crowd,'Get back! Get back! Damn it!'