WASHINGTON: After ten hours of testimony Thursday, Democrats harping on Ken Starr's tactics hadn't yet drawn blood from the unflappable special prosecutor. And, while Clinton lawyer David Kendall proved to be a better marksman, he scored only flesh wounds. "Not even Kendall made a lot of ground in proving his case that Starr's tactics were wildly out of bounds," says TIME congressional correspondent James Carney. "That was the only time all day that Starr lost the advantage of appearing calm and reasonable." And no sooner did Starr bleed a little than in swooped David Schippers. The Republican counsel who has made so much of being a registered Democrat hewed astonishingly close to his new affiliation, planting (in his gruff way) so many bearded kisses on Starr's ample cheek that even the witness started to look embarrassed.
After almost twelve hours had passed, the avuncular chairman, Rep. Henry Hyde excused Starr and thanked him "for a wonderful day." Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee got off some parting shots about maybe getting Starr back on Friday. And then the loneliest independent counsel stood and exited these now nakedly partisan proceedings to a standing ovation from slightly more than half the room. Starr had won a PR battle for a change, but the war over Bill Clinton's fate was still tilted in the White House's favor. "It ended much as it began," says Carney. "No one put forward any new grounds whatsoever for impeachment." CNN's live coverage drew to a close. And on C-SPAN, the committee members squabbled still more, an hour into the tired night.