Hyde and Seek in Washington

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WASHINGTON: It's getting dirty out there. House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde got slung with a faceful of mud Wednesday night when it was revealed -- by the pro-Clinton netzine Salon -- that he had an extramarital affair with a married woman for five years back in the late 1960s. Soon enough, the aggrieved husband was telling reporters that Hyde was a "super hypocrite" who ruined his life and broke up his family. "He had an affair with a young woman with three children," said 76-year-old retiree Richard Snodgrass. "At least the President didn't do that."

Special Report The timing of this relevation, of course, is extraordinary, given that the 30-year-old adultery came to light the day before Hyde's committee is scheduled to vote on whether to release the President's grand jury testimony. The 71-year-old Hyde put the affair down to "youthful indiscretion" -- even though he was in his forties at the time, not much younger than Clinton is now. Other GOP luminaries cried conspiracy: "The President's attack dogs," said Majority Whip Tom DeLay, "don't know the difference between breaking the law and making a mistake decades ago." For its part, Salon denied a White House connection and defended the article by claiming it proved both Hyde and Clinton were still fit for office. But now that Hyde has joined Dan Burton and Helen Chenoweth in the sexual-skeletons-in-the-closet club, Washingtonians have to wonder just how much more mud is waiting to be slung.