Clinton Lawyer Backs Down

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7:31 PM

NEW YORK: President Clinton’s lawyer Robert Bennett beat a hastry retreat in the face of heated criticism of his harsh attacks on Paula Jones, saying: “I’m not a fool. I’m not planning an attack on this woman’s sexual history.” NOW President Patricia Ireland had belatedly come to Jones’ defense after Bennett compared Jones to a dead dog, revealed that he had taken sworn statements about her sexual habits from a former boyfriend and threatened to reveal her bedroom habits should the case move forward. Ireland said Clinton should “grow up,” noting that Jones' personal history was irrelevant in determining if her allegations against Clinton were true. The crescendo of attacks on the Clinton Administration’s treatment of Jones included a tough Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times, comparing Bennett’s dead-dog rhetoric to mobster talk, and adding: “the President should quit besmirching Paula Jones and settle the case, before people stop seeing him as a likable rogue and start seeing him as an unlikable rogue.” TIME's John Dickerson notes that the new support from women’s groups hit home for Clinton and Gore, whom women have solidly supported in the past. The humbler Bennett said Wednesday that he intends to “take the high ground in the case and attack her reputation on issues of veracity.”