That '70s Impeachment Show

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WASHINGTON: It's Back to the '70s Week in the nation's capital. After President Clinton hailed the first budget surplus since bell-bottoms and the Beatles' breakup, Congress offered its own remembrance of things past: a resolution for impeachment proceedings that bears a remarkable resemblance to the one issued against President Nixon. The measure, released Wednesday by House Judiciary chair Henry Hyde, is adapted almost word for word from its 1974 counterpart. Remember golden oldies such as no limit on the inquiry's scope, and subpoena power for representatives of both parties? They're back. And if the committee and House both pass the resolution next week, we've got Watergate all over again.

Special Report That, of course, is the impression the White House is desperate to neutralize. "Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky matter are entirely different, and I think most Americans would readily and quickly agree to that," said retiring spinmeister Mike McCurry. Not that heading back in time a couple of decades has been entirely unproductive for the Clinton camp; after all, they've already dug up a younger, sideburned and apparently hypocritical Trent Lott vehemently objecting to impeachment on the grounds of "general misbehavior." Nixon-era nostalgia, it seems, cuts both ways.