Dash for the Exit

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WASHINGTON: Any Democrats still trying to hang Ken Starr on his tactics were feeling vindicated Friday morning after Starr's ethics consultant announced, in a "Dear Ken" letter, that he was taking his respected-Watergate-investigator's imprimatur and going home. But it wasn't Starr's methods that bothered Sam Dash -- it was that the independent counsel spent all day Thursday arguing his own case. "Instead of just presenting the evidence as an investigator, Starr was judge and jury as well, opining about whether his case met the standards for impeachment," says TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan. "That was too many hats."

Special Report All the better for his critics. "This certainly adds an exclamation point to all the Democrats' charges," says Branegan -- especially considering that Starr, who has lambasted Clinton for not telling the whole truth, never mentioned Dash's strenuous objections to his appearance as an advocate for his own referral. "Starr even hedged about being an advocate, which he obviously was," says Branegan. And just when those approval ratings threatened to climb into double digits.