Hillary's Hill of Beans

The First Lady makes light of impeachment. Is forgiveness next?

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Hillary continues to show signs that she's fighting in her husband's corner again. The First Lady has made her most direct reference to the Lewinsky scandal since the Starr report was released; on the campaign trail in Seattle late Thursday, she lashed out at Congress for "doing stuff that doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the long-term future of America." The subtext: Either Hillary's been spending too much time lately watching "Casablanca" reruns, or she really has come around to the view that the problems of three little people -- herself, Clinton and Lewinsky -- really don't add up to a hill of beans in this crazy (GOP-dominated) world. At the same time, spokewoman Marsha Berry revealed, the First Lady is finally returning calls to concerned congressmen. "She has certainly talked to some members," said Berry, "making the case that she's very proud of the President."

Special Report Could outright absolution be next? There's no sign yet that Mrs. Clinton plans to publicly forgive her wayward spouse, but there's little doubt in the White House that public absolution from her would be the ultimate weapon: Hillary has forgiven him, the spin would go -- once again -- so why can't Congress? Now would be a good time to strike, with polls showing growing public disquiet over the House's handling of possible impeachment hearings. Expect more attacks from the First Lady soon; she's not one to be passive with her tenure at stake. If her husband were impeached, of course, Hillary would regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. And for the rest of her life.