Paula Plays for Keeps

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WASHINGTON: It used to be the $700,000 question; now it's the $2 million question: Did then-Governor Clinton proposition then-employee Paula Jones in an Arkansas hotel? Jones' attorney David Pyke has just upped the ante by a cool $1.3 million and demanding "something that is pretty close to an apology" from the embattled President. With Clinton's deposition date due Saturday, when he will sit and speak, under oath, across the table from Jones, Pyke cannot be faulted for raising the odds now.

But the defendant doesn't look ready to dignify the demand, not even with a counter-offer. Reporters searching for a quote from the Clinton camp have been forced to fall back on an old maxim from his lawyer, Robert Bennett, who insisted, way back, that Clinton "will not apologize for something he didn't do." Indeed, all signs are that the President's in for the long haul on this one. And if that means facing the gaze of his accuser and losing some Chief Executive dignity, so be it.