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Tuesday, November 17, 1998 Published at 14:14 GMT

Toeing the party line

The president's speech had a mixed impact

Political reaction to President Bill Clinton's admission of a relationship with former White House worker Monica Lewinsky is being fought largely on party lines.

[ image: Dan Quayle: Resignation call]
Dan Quayle: Resignation call
Former Republican Vice-President Dan Quayle led calls for Mr Clinton's resignation.

Other republicans were more restrained but disappointed that Mr Clinton used his televised speech to attack the independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr.

Mr Quayle said: "(He should) do what's in the best interest of the country. The best way to put this behind us is for Bill Clinton to leave."

Dan Quayle: "Resign"
Reverend Jerry Falwell, who was accused by Hillary Clinton of masterminding a conspiracy against the president, supported the resignation call.

He said: "The president should resign. He should step aside and allow Vice President Al Mr Gore to come in and attempt to restore some level of moral sanity and dignity to the White House."

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson said: "America could have been spared this entire sad saga if the president had told the truth in the first place."

[ image: Lawrence Eagleburger: Against impeachment]
Lawrence Eagleburger: Against impeachment
Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri said: "I am disappointed in his implicit attack on Ken Starr and in his trying to deflect responsibility."

Lawrence Eagleburger, a former Secretary of State in the George Bush administration, said he believed the president would survive - but in a much weakened state.

He told BBC Radio 4: "I don't much like him as president but I don't want to see him impeached.

Lawrence Eagleburger: "I don't think he'll be impeached"
"I don't think Republicans will go that far but he will be a much neutered president.

"This is one Republican who does not think the country can take a much weakened president. The world is too important and we'll all pay a price."

Democrats look ahead

Vice President Gore and Secretary of State Madeline Albright led the Democrat defence.

[ image: Al Gore: Looking forward]
Al Gore: Looking forward
"It is time to put this matter behind us and move forward with the business of the United States of America," said Mr Gore.

Mrs Albright said: "I have complete confidence in the president.

"He is doing a terrific job for the United States both domestically and in terms of our foreign policy."

Madeline Albright: "He's doing a terrific job"
Cautious statements of support also came from Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Representative John Lewis of Georgia.

Mr Harkin said: "We are all human. We all make mistakes - even a president. Most Americans share my belief that it's in our best interests to put this behind us and move on."

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