Tale of the Videotape

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It's the classic trio: sex, lies and videotape. The first two were revealed in nauseating detail in the Starr report, and if you thought that was embarrassing for the President, wait till you see the third. The tapes of his August 17 grand jury testimony were included in the 36-box CARE package Starr sent to Congress last week; now the House Judiciary Committee has signaled that they may be among the first batch of supporting evidence put in the public domain. Imagine: four to six hours of the leader of the world's last superpower giving slippery answers to questions about breasts and genitalia -- coming soon to an all-day news channel near you! That couldn't do much to boost the President's stature.

Special Report Is there any way the White House can block release? Clinton attorney Charles Ruff has supposedly set up lines of communication with committee chair Henry Hyde; if they fail, aides expect that Democrats will threaten the end of bipartisan cooperation. Not that the word "bipartisan" has much currency anymore in a House where each member seems to have his own solution to the crisis. In the end, perhaps the only thing that will keep the GOP from letting the tapes be broadcast is the fear of public backlash. After all, Clinton always comes back strongest when he is most under fire.