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After telling a reporter that President Clinton "better have a bodyguard" if he plans to visit North Carolina military bases, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) today expressed regret -- without apologizing -- for the remarks. "President Clinton will of course be welcomed by me and other citizens of North Carolina . . . anytime he chooses to visit us," Helms said in today's statement. But in an interview that took place Monday -- just as the flap hit over Helms' comments about Clinton's not being up to commander-in-chief duties -- and was published today in the Raleigh News & Observer, Helms said that Clinton "better watch out if he comes down here." Today Helms said he made a mistake "which I shall not repeat." Although Democrats rebuked Helms and Republicans distanced themselves from both sets of comments, Helms went ahead and again slammed Clinton, saying the president has "serious problems with his record of draft avoidance, with his stand on homosexuals in the military, and with the declining defense capability of America's armed forces."Helms is doing what he does best: playing the role of a vociferous attack dog tearing at the Administration, even though he is now slated to assume a position of considerable power as the next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee . Says Raleigh News & Observer political writer Ferrel Guillory -- who has spent many years covering the senator: "The rhetoric he employs is (in tune with) the politics of opposition. "He is better at opposing a program than starting a program." And since this plays well with his voters, don't expect a change in his style. "There's a sense here that you get things from him unvarnished," he says. "He's gotten a lot of political mileage out of this," adds Guillory.Post your opinion on theWashingtonbulletin board.