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Incoming foreign relations committee chairman Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) -- the subject of a recent firestorm over interviews he's given about President Clinton's performance -- today used his recent high media profile to bash the press. He may have been apologetic after his recent remark that President Clinton "better have a bodyguard" if he visits North Carolina, but now that the smoke's cleared, he's blaming the media for the rhetorical debacle. "It was never a threat and everybody knew that," a reinvigorated Helms told reporters during a home state visit. He aimed his next shot at the Raleigh News & Observer, which he said should have included the word "jokingly" when it quoted him on Clinton's safety. But Helms saved his coup de grace for the media in general: "You need to play a large role in cleaning up your act . . . The liberal news media is guilty of intellectual dishonesty. These liberal elitists shot themselves in the foot. The American people don't trust the news media. You ought to know. You see what they do to tobacco every day."