Which was almost certainly the reasoning behind Clinton's "asking for forgiveness" aside during a civil rights speech in Massachusetts Friday. But has it had any effect? Dick Gephardt does seem to be stepping back from last week's discussion of the Clinton impeachment process -- "I do trust the President," Gephardt told TIME -- but that hasn't stopped many Democrats on the reelection trail from distancing themselves from the President. With the previously unthinkable loss of a dozen House seats now being openly discussed, forgiveness is not at the top of their agenda.
If the President did a poor job of expressing remorse over the Lewinsky affair to the nation, he's trying to do better with members of his own party. As TIME reports Monday, Clinton spent much of his Martha's Vinyard vacation dialing up top Democrats and piling on the mea culpas. Another public act of contrition is unlikely -- suggestions to that effect from top aides were shot down -- but Clinton does wish he'd been on the ball first time around. "The President admitted to us that the timing of his speech was probably not the best," Rep. Jim McGovern, one of those on the must-call list, told NBC's "Meet the Press." "He wished he had more time to reflect and get his emotions together before he addressed the American people."