Packed with references to Nixon, Starr's speech was pointedly delivered on the 24th anniversary of the day that president refused to let the courts hear his Oval Office tapes -- and to the same audience, the San Antonio Bar Association, that Jaworski addressed in that year. So the independent counsel is trying to spin Intern-gate into Watergate, and himself into Jaworski. Spinning the evidence might be a taller order: Whatever else the Tripp tapes contain, they're no smoking gun.
Did you catch that, Mr. Clinton? With a captive audience watching on CNN, Ken Starr took a timely historical tour of Watergate and other court battles that presidents have lost. On the surface, it was a snoozer: Executive Privilege 101. But pick apart the professorial text, and you get Starr's most savage attack on the President to date. Take the ending: "No one, absolutely no one, is above the law." Technically, a quote from Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski, but also the exact words Newt Gingrich has spent the last week crafting into a rallying cry for the right. Was Starr trying to be simpatico with the Speaker? It's hard to imagine otherwise.