Sink or Spin

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WASHINGTON: In for a nickel, in for a dollar. "I want you to listen to me," President Clinton said Monday morning, jabbing angrily with his finger. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." Note he said relations, not relationship leaving him no room for an oral-sex-is-not-sex argument. "I never told anyone to lie, never ... I need to go back to work for the American people." With that, the President all but stormed back in the direction of the Oval office leaving the media to await their next serving, a scheduled interview with the First Lady later Monday.

The launch of Clinton's counter-offensive is not a moment too soon. The FBI is closing in on Monica Lewinsky. Her own muted stance has not prevented the feds from seizing her computer hard drive, or expropriating dresses in search of what has politely been termed a presidential "DNA sample." (As Lewinsky's lawyer, squirming with embarassment, said Sunday: "You know what I'm talking about"). Plus, as ABC News is reporting, witnesses to the supposed tryst are coming out of the woodwork.

One bright spot for the beleaguered President: The New York Times reports that Starr is considering postponing once again the deposition of Lewinsky. It had been slated for Tuesday, the morning of the State of the Union address. Now Clinton has more time to arrest his slippage in the polls. The numbers remain dismal, but one point is clear: Few on the left or right think America wins if it loses a president over such a tawdry scandal.