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Monday, September 28, 1998 Published at 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK


Clinton 'not wallowing in regret'

A warm welcome to Bill Clinton - others want to bid farewell

President Bill Clinton has reassured his supporters that he is not contemplating resignation over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

"You do not have to worry about me giving up," the president told cheering supporters on Sunday at a fund-raising event for Garry Mauro, the Democratic nominee for governor of Texas.

"I believe he is the greatest president in my lifetime," Mr Mauro said.


[ image: Bob Dole: Early deal is a
Bob Dole: Early deal is a "non-starter"
But any prospect of a swift end to the president's problems seemed remote in light of comments made by three veteran politicians.

Bob Dole, who was Mr Clinton's Republican adversary in the 1996 presidential election, said any chance of a deal between the president and Congress before the mid-term elections, was a "non-starter".

Another former senator, Howard Baker, and Mr Clinton's former White House Chief-of-Staff, Leon Panetta, agreed that the president first had to get over the hurdle of the November elections.

On a three-day weekend tour, Mr Clinton appeared at various events in Illinois and California, raising nearly $4m for Democratic candidates.

But many candidates chose not to attend his events, fearing the impact the disgraced president could have on their own local campaigns.
[ image: President Clinton sets off on his fundraising tour - many stayed away]
President Clinton sets off on his fundraising tour - many stayed away

Along the route of the presidential motorcade, demonstrators held up a spray-painted sheet which read: "Do not stop thinking about resigning".

"It is not the Oral Office," said another banner. Near the scene of the Texas fundraising event, a Monica scarecrow wearing a light blue dress had been attached to a fence.

In a Washington Post interview published on Sunday, Mr Clinton said: "I believe the American people will be more likely to support me because every American has been broken by something in life ...

"So I think there will be a real sense that ... we can make a clean breast of this and have a new burst of energy as a country," he said.

Repairing life

"Instead of wallowing in regret, I am working at repairing my life and my marriage," Mr Clinton added.

"My wife is a remarkable woman, and her strength and support are a constant inspiration to me during this painful time. I'm doing the people's business.

"At the same time, I'm diligently working with my family on the healing process. Wallowing in regret is a cop-out."

Speaking on NBC TV's Meet the Press, Messrs Dole, Baker and Panetta, who have all been cited as possible mediators between the president and Congress, were asked about the likelihood of a deal before November.


[ image: Leon Panetta: All depends on the elections]
Leon Panetta: All depends on the elections
"It's a non-starter," said Mr Dole. "Look down the road three or four months who knows, but now it's a non-starter."

Mr Baker backed the House Judiciary Committee's current course of impeachment hearings.

"If it goes over to the Senate, then maybe there is time to talk about a plea bargain, but it is way too soon for that," he said.

Mr Panetta predicted trouble for the president if Republicans triumph in the 3 November elections.

However, if the Democrats win seats "I think there is a much better chance that this issue will be settled sooner rather than later," he said.



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