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Outside White House, mixed reaction to Bill Clinton impeachment

By
TOBIN BECK

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 -- Reaction to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton ranged from opposition to endorsement in a sampling of people along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House.

"The president's actions, though they were wrong, I don't think they necessarily were impeachable offenses," said Ray Whaley, 33, a computer company technology manager from Plainfield, Ill. "I think that it doesn't make it right, but everybody's done a little bit of wrong, and I think if they looked at everybody else's history and background, they'd find a lot of very similar things in a lot of people's past."

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Ron Squires, 33, a mortgage banker from Dallas, said he didn't think the Senate would muster the 67 votes needed to convict the president.

"I don't think the votes are there," he said. "It's a historical day, obviously, but I just don't think he'll be removed from office."

Asked whether he thought Clinton should be removed, he replied: "I have mixed feelings about that, I really do."

Donna Hurst, 50, of Sykesville, Md., said impeachment was good for the country.

"It's gone on too long," she said. "I don't think he'll resign. I think he's just that type of president. But it's a shame. For his family, he should resign, for the country."

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Raoul Deming, 44, a Philadelphia engineer who marched with several other engineers in support of impeachment, said: "Clinton plays peekaboo with the truth. The Senate will make him play truth and consequences."

Marty Ridens, 35, a Richmond, Va., computer engineer marching with Deming, said: "I think anybody who does a realistic examination of the evidence with an open mind will come to the conclusion that this man does not belong in the White House."

Kari Verhulst, 29, of Washington, D.C., said she opposed impeachment "because I think it is a scary legal precedent to set to impeach someone over this.

"I think the American public as portrayed by the mass media has gotten to the point where morality is judged purely on individual sexual behavior and isn't looking at broader issues about how our policies and actions of elected officials affect broad numbers of people," said Verhulst, who works in the marketing department of a Christian magazine.

"That being said, I am disturbed by the fact that not much is being said about the fact that President Clinton abused the power he had for sexual gratification," she said. "He took advantage of that -- and that to me is the moral issue."

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Verhulst was with a group protesting the U.S. military action against Iraq. About two dozen demonstrators protesting the bombing of Iraq were joined for a time on the sidewalk in front of the White House by about 125 people marching in a previously planned rally for release of jailed Indian activist Leonard Peltier.

As they marched, they in turn were quietly watched by about two dozen police, including a half- dozen on horseback.

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