Monica and the Other Bill

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Like many Clinton cabinet hopefuls before him, energy secretary nominee Bill Richardson came to the Senate Wednesday fully expecting a grilling. Unlike his predecessors, Richardson was prepped for questions on the small matter of Monica Lewinsky. It was, after all, the first chance senators had to get the former White House intern's name on the record: Richardson had personally interviewed Lewinsky for a job at the U.S. mission to the U.N. last October. "She was impressive, certainly," Richardson told Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska). At least chatting about Monica beat talking about nuclear waste dumping in Nevada.

Other tidbits Murkowski's questions managed to dig up: That Lewinsky was up for a $30,000 annual salary; that the interview took place in Richardson's suite at the Watergate; that she was offered the job but refused it. Just how useful that information was is another matter. A minor scuffle broke out when Murkowski asked Richardson to supply a list of other candidates he had personally interviewed, which Democrats on the committee believed constituted an invasion of privacy. And Richardson? Even though a formal vote does not take place until September, he's got the nomination sewn up already. And someone who can take this kind of questioning deserves it.