Clinton Wishes Upon a Starr

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WASHINGTON: If Ken Starr didn't exist, Bill Clinton might have to invent him. Not only has the President's approval rating soared since the independent counsel began investigating the Lewinsky affair, the President and first lady have also raked in $2 million in the last six months for their legal defense fund, according to White House officials. Compare that with the $1.3 million the Clintons spent three-and-a-half years scraping together for Whitewater costs. What's their secret? Relaxed limits on contributions -- not to mention direct mailing that invokes Starr's name. "You can either run an ethical fund, or you can raise money," says TIME Washington correspondent Jay Branegan. "Clinton's tried the first, now he's trying the second."

Special Report By careful management, adds Branegan, the fund has become "a way for people to express how they feel about Starr." Which is what seems to have spurred Hollywood's elite into action. "There is a well financed group of zealots who want to bring down the President ... and he's broke," claimed entertainment mogul David Geffen, who joined the Spielbergs, Hankses and Streisands in giving the maximum $10,000 contribution. "I would have given more, but they didn't want any more," added Geffen. That's not entirely true -- the Clintons have a $10 million legal hole to fill -- but given that the limit was previously $1,000, Geffen is lucky to be writing checks this large. If he has cash to spare, he might give a thought to Monica: The former White House intern has only received $10,000 total for her substantial legal costs.