Text from Clinton's Address to the Nation if he were on truth serum.
10.16 P.m. ET (0216 GMT) August 17, 1998
by Keith Chiles
This afternoon in this room, from this chair, in this very spot, I was forced to testify before the Office of Independent Counsel and the grand jury.
I answered their questions truthfully whenever there was compelling physical evidence that would contradict my lies, including questions about having sex while watching an intern do kinky things that I now spin as being part of my private life, questions so embarrassing that no American citizen would ever want to answer.
Still, the polls indicate that I must take complete responsibility for all my actions, both public and private. And that is why I am speaking to you tonight and not ducking questions while the Marine Band plays loudly and drowns out the media.
As you know, in a deposition in January, I was asked questions about my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. While I, a compulsive liar, deemed my answers legally accurate, I was not stupid enough to volunteer any information that might help prove what I did to Paula.
Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, since I got caught, I can see it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part to destroy all evidence linking me to the events, for which I am solely and completely responsible, but for which I refuse to apologize.
But I told the grand jury today, and I say to you now, that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence, or to take any other unlawful action. I was a lawyer before becoming your President and I know better than to do these things. I have less important people to do these things whenever I indicate that I would like to see something go away.
I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression, and that is what I intended. How could I know this thing would spin out of control or that my spin doctors would be too worn out from the plethora of scandals to be effective.
I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that, because Hillary is a better lawyer and will clean me out in any divorce settlement.
I regret misleading my friends because most of them have evidence of other wrongdoing that may hurt me.
I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors. First, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct. I was also very concerned about protecting myself from my family.
The fact that these questions were being asked in a politically inspired lawsuit about my tendency to expose my private parts to women, which my lies and obstruction of justice has since caused to be dismissed, was a consideration, too. I could not allow the truth to be known until after the statute of limitations expires.
In addition, I had real and serious concerns about an independent counsel investigation that began with private business dealings 20 years ago. Dealings, I might add, about which an independent federal agency, staffed with my political appointees and friends, found none of the evidence of wrongdoing by me, or my wife, over two years ago.
The independent counsel investigation has enough evidence of wrongdoing on my part to move on to my staff and friends, now into my private life with interns in the oval office. And now the investigation itself is under investigation, because my very large staff of lawyers found a gullible judge who is stupid enough to help me by requiring the independent counsel to prove he didn't leak the things that we leaked.
This has gone on too long, cost too much and hurt too many innocent people, and is getting much to close to the evidence I have worked so hard to conceal. I call upon all of my friends in the sympathetic media to join with me in stopping this out-of-control situation before they get enough evidence to impeach me.
Now, this matter is among me, the two people I love most -- my wife and our daughter -- and our God. I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so. Even the bombing of terrorist camps that we have known about for ten years.
Nothing is more important to me personally. But it is private, and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It's nobody's business but ours, and the focus groups indicated that there were enough stupid people to believe this nonsense.
Even presidents have private lives with interns in the oval office. It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into my sex addiction and get on with our national life.
My stonewalling and lying has caused this country to be distracted by this matter for too long, and I take my responsibility for my part in all of this, even though I did it because of Ken Starr. That is all I can get away with.
Now it is time -- in fact, it is past time -- to move on. We have important work to do -- new women to seduce, new interns to chase, and real terrorist camps to bomb.
And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the spectacle I have created for the past seven months by lying to the American People, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century, and to help me shut down the independent counsel before he closes the trap on me in such a manner that I can no longer lie my way out of this mess.
Thank you for watching and good night.
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