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Monday, October 5, 1998 Published at 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK


Ford enters Clinton row

Gerald Ford was in Congress for more than 20 years

United States President Bill Clinton should be rebuked but not impeached for his role in the Monica Lewinsky affair, one of his predecessors has said.

Gerald Ford says Mr Clinton should accept the rebuke in person and take full responsibility for his part in the scandal and for efforts to delay or impede its investigation.


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Mr Ford's comments - his first in public about the Lewinsky affair - came on the eve of a House of Representative's Judiciary Committee meeting, which will determine whether to open a formal impeachment inquiry.

Republican Mr Ford became the 38th US president in 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned in order to avoid impeachment for the Watergate scandal.

Mr Ford, writing in the New York Times, said: "This would be a rebuke, not a rebuttal by the President.

"The President would accept full responsibility for his actions, as well as for his subsequent efforts to delay or impede the investigation of them.

"No spinning, no semantics, no evasiveness or blaming others for his plight."

'Dignified, honest and cleansing'

Mr Ford, 85, appealed for the rebuke process to be carried out "without partisan exploitation or mean-spiritedness".

He wrote: "Let it be dignified, honest and, above all, cleansing.

"The result, I believe, would be the first moment of majesty in an otherwise squalid year."

Another former US president, Jimmy Carter, has already criticised Mr Clinton for the way he handled the affair.

Mr Carter, a Democrat, said he "deplored" the president's actions and predicted impeachment Congress would begin impeachment proceedings.



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