Paula's Past is Off-Limits, Again

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WASHINGTON: The last word belongs to Bob Bennett -- and it won't be an X-rated one. When his rebuttal to Paula Jones' 700-page document dump was released Friday, it did not contain “sensitive material of a sexual nature” from Paula's past. Such a sex probe was suggested in a letter to Judge Susan Webber Wright. Jones claims her 1991 encounter with Clinton left her with an aversion to sex. Bennett calls that a "big joke" and wanted to prove otherwise -- which would have meant a lot of low blows from this prizefighter lawyer. But the letter was leaked by the Jones team, the Washington Post picked it up, and Friday saw Bennett doing backflips: "In the light of this morning's frenzy," he told reporters, "it convinced me I didn't need to get into it today."

Special Report Which is an uncanny repetition of last June, when Bennett first floated the prospect that Clinton’s defense would explore Jones’ sexual history. He came under fire from women’s groups, and reversed course several days later, declaring he was "no fool." This time, Bennett may simply have gotten cold feet. But it's more likely that this astute purveyor of White House spin was sending a clear message to the media: We've got dirt too, and we're not afraid to use it. As with Bennett's revelation that Kathleen Willey was seeking a book deal, reporters read him loud and clear. No fool, indeed.