Whenever scandal has rocked the White House, Bruce Lindsey has been at the center of the cleanup effort, calling around his native Arkansas to gather information and enlist allies, devising legal strategy with the President's other lawyers, steering journalists away from negative conclusions and soothing the President just by being there, ready to watch a movie or play a game of hearts.

As Clinton's longtime political ferret, Lindsey, 48, has always understood the centripetal nature of power--that to get to the core of it, you almost have to disappear. But last week he shed his cherished invisibility, when instead of managing...

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