Has Clinton really been caught with his pants down?

May 10, 1994|By MIKE LITTWIN

Let's see. For issues of the day, we've got Rwanda, Bosnia, health care, the dollar and the position of Clinton's pants.

I know you people. You want to talk men's wear. So, I took a survey of pants.

It turned out they were all in the regulation "up" position. Of course, Ted Kennedy wasn't in the room. Most men I surveyed said they tend to keep their pants "up" except when, well, you know.

Yet, according to the charges being made against the president of the United States and leader of the free world, which is the only darn world we've got left, Clinton had his pants in the irregular "down" position while sitting on a couch in a hotel room across from a strange woman.

This leads us to one of several conclusions:

* She's lying.

* Clinton was having a bad suspenders day.

* Our president is the biggest sleazoid going, a new poster boy for the men-are-scum club.

First, it was his underwear. Now, if you believe Paula Jones, we have a president who thinks the best way to pick up women is to drop his pants. Where'd he go to finishing school -- Chippendale's? This little move makes Clarence "Can o' Coke" Thomas look like Cary Grant.

If you believe her.

If you believe her, you've got to be willing to take a walk through some pretty scary territory. I've got the directions.

According to Jones, she was working at the welcome desk three years ago at a hotel in Little Rock, Ark., for something called a governor's management conference when it all began.

When then-governor Clinton sees Jones, he is intrigued. He is so intrigued he tells one of his state troopers to approach her with this message, "The governor said you make his knees knock." That's what she says he said.

Let's pause here. Makes his knees knock? I've heard of enraptured men getting the hippy hippy shakes. If it's Clinton, I'm expecting to hear: "You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain; your kind of love drives a man insane."

But knee knocking? OK, it's Arkansas, where, for all I know, this knee-knocking business is a standard pick-up line. Maybe down there, many people don't know their astrological sign. Maybe this is Arkansas poetry.

But that doesn't explain the pants. Again, according to Jones, when she agrees to go to Clinton's room, the then-guv tries to kiss her, fondle her, etc. When that doesn't seem to be getting him anywhere, he sits on the couch, drops his pants and -- what'd he say then? More Arkansas poetry?

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

If I drop my pants,

Will you drop yours, too?

Anyway, she says she didn't. She says she left with her head high and his pants low. Now she's filed a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment and asking for $700,000. Of course, that won't come close to her movie-of-the-week rights fees.

There are a few reasons to wonder about her story, not the least of them that she first went public at a press conference called by Cliff Jackson, Clinton's arch-enemy who will do anything to embarrass the president.

The other thing is, doesn't the guy they call Slick Willie have to be slicker than that?

But, true or not, it's real trouble for Clinton. Women's groups, the ones who backed Anita Hill with such enthusiasm, are being forced to say that Jones' story must be heard. And it will be.

The tabloids are certainly going to run with it. This is not some obscure land deal like Whitewater, a would-be scandal that has no legs. Nobody understands that issue. This is different. Everyone understands this issue. You can sum it up in two words: knobby knees.

What if it actually went to trial? Can you see a president describing his sex life one day and running for re-election the next?

It isn't that politicians have never had sex outside the marriage. But this is not Jack Kennedy keeping time with Marilyn Monroe. It's not even the kind of pick-up where you meet a woman in the bar, tell her you're governor of Arkansas and explain how you could help her get a job at Tyson's chicken plant.

What Jones says happened in that hotel room can only be described as gross. We're talking a major ugh factor.

What I'm saying is, this would be one instance when you really wanted a politician to cover up.

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