NEW YORK, Dec. 21 -- Former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter are calling for a 'bipartisan resolution of censure' of President Clinton. Writing together in today's op-ed page of the New York Times, Ford and Carter say Clinton should accept rebuke and acknowledge his wrongdoing 'and the very real harm he has caused.' Clinton is facing trial in the U.S. Senate on two articles of impeachment. A vote by two-thirds of the Senate on either the charge perjury or the one of obstruction of justice would mean Clinton's immediate removal from office. The House passed the articles on a nearly exclusive partisan vote, turning down Democratic pleas for a vote on censure of the president. Ford and Carter claim that not only Clinton but 'our political system, too, is on trial.' They ask if there is a resolution to the crisis that allows Americans to once again be 'proud of their leaders, their institutions and themselves?' They answer: 'It is with this in mind that we personally favor a bipartisan resolution of censure by the Senate.' The former presidents want the measure to stipulate that Clinton's acceptance of the resolution -- 'including a public acknowledgment that he did not tell the truth under oath' -- could not be used in any future criminal trial. Ford and Carter say 'the judgment of history does matter' and that 'impeachment by the full House has already brought profound disgrace to President Clinton.' Ford and Carter argue against the idea that a future Congress could expunge the censure from the record: 'They underestimate the power of the modern news media to foster indelible images in the public memory.
'In any even, no one can undo President Clinton's impeachment by the full House.' The former presidents say it is apparent a trial in the Senate would not likely come to a 'quick or clear decision' and that during the trial a 'rehashing (of) the lurid evidence of President Clinton's misconduct...only exacerbate the jagged divisions that are tearing at our national fabric.' ---
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