The Last Word

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Tuesday night belonged to the departed Karla Faye Tucker, whose crime and punishment were enough to bump both Monica and Iraq from all the choice spots. Larry King and Ted Koppel didn't mention anything else; nor did Charles Grodin, who argued that the adorable killer was doomed from childhood.

Happily, NBC's tab "Dateline" resisted the maudlin nightgeist, and accentuated the political in a jail-house interview with Whitewater convict Susan McDougal. Ken Starr sent her to the pokey, she claimed, "because I refused to lie for him." Another bombshell: McDougal's husband Jim came to her from Starr with an offer of freedom if she'd testify to having an affair with Clinton, she maintains. "Bill would never tell anyone to lie," she insisted,wide-eyed. And then the crowd-pleasers: "I know this is bad for the country...Kenneth Starr has become Jerry Springer...It's time for Ken Starr to go back to Malibu."

CNN reported that the White House is mulling whether Clinton's inner legal circle should claim "executive priviledge," thereby spitting right in Starr's face. It also ran a piece reminding that if Monica was looking for refuge from the media, L.A. was the wrong place. "When she goes out at night," said one paparazzi rather ominously, "she'll be posing for me." "Brian Williams" tipped a Washington Post story on Clinton's new legal defense fund--it's now open to everyone, and the per-donor limit is ten times higher. Desperate times...

Some things never change. Both Leno and Letterman took a pass on Karla Faye, preferring instead to do their silliloquies on what Letterman has been calling "The Monica Lewinski White House Sex Scandal Gate." Among Dave's throw-aways: "While you were having sex" pink message pads from the Oval Office.