WASHINGTON, D.C.: Dressed in black, Hillary Clinton marched into a Washington courtroom at midday Friday to face questions about her role in Whitewater. "I'm going to tell them everything I know, with the hope of helping them with their investigation," the First Lady told the mass of reporters gathered outside. Four grueling hours later, she reappeared to say that she had told the jury everything she knew and was now going home. For the Clintons, burned in the past by suspicions they weren't telling the whole truth about Whitewater, TIME's J.F.O. McAllister says the best strategy is to appear as forthright as possible: "The right public relations strategy is to get everything out in the open right away, bad news first, and show the public that you've come clean about everything. The problem for Hillary Clinton has always been this: she is a lawyer, she thinks like a lawyer, and most of her counsel has come from other people who think like lawyers. And a lawyer's strategy is never give up anything unless you have to." At issue today were the billing records documenting Mrs. Clinton's legal work for Madison Guaranty, which disappeared under subpoena for about two years before mysteriously turning up in a room next to her office in the White House residence three weeks ago. McAllister notes that resolving the Whitewater issue to the public's satisfaction, and the prosecutor's, could be critical to President Clinton's re-election chances: "If it comes down to a Clinton versus Dole race, the issue Dole where can really hurt Clinton is character. So they need to clear this up as much as possible right now."