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Local reaction is mixed on airing of Clinton testimony

by Torie McCloy


The reactions were mixed Monday as local residents tuned in to President Clinton's four-hour testimony in front of a federal grand jury, with some saying the whole thing is a Republican plot and others believing he's getting what he deserves.

John Chandler II said Clinton isn't a saint, but people need to look at the economy -- not in the bedroom or the Oval Office -- to determine if President Clinton still is focusing on his job.

"The economy is better now than it was with (presidents) Reagan or Bush," Chandler said, citing lower unemployment rates and a higher minimum wage.

"More people are working and making more money," Chandler said. "The working man is doing better."

Jeff Higgins, who works with Chandler as a salesman at a store in Meadowbrook Mall, agreed the economy is most important. He said a balanced U.S. budget is significant.

Both watched parts of the grand jury testimony aired on major network stations and CNN. Both didn't want the testimony released, fearing the precedent set by Congress in letting testimony out to the public.

"Testimony shouldn't be public knowledge," Higgins said.

Some believe differently.

John Spino said if someone testifies, they shouldn't be ashamed if others know.

"I believe if you put your hand on a Bible and lie, you're not worth anything," Spino said.

The grand jury testimony was aired on television stations in stores, restaurants and homes.

Damon's Restaurant in Eastpointe Shopping Plaza aired the CBS version of the testimony. General Manager Derick Haddix said not only did he want to know how the president handled the tough, personal questions, he felt it was of interest to most people.

Haddix said patrons to the restaurant made few comments during the airing.

"I've heard a lot of snickering today," Haddix said.

Haddix watched for a specific reason. He said he didn't care about Clinton's personal life, he just cares if the president lied.

"I just wonder if he lies under oath, what else he will lie about," he said.

After watching the testimony, Haddix said he thinks the president is "squirming."

A female waitress had a slightly different opinion after watching parts of the testimony.

"Nothing but a horn dog, that is what he is," she said.

Regardless of opinions, Clinton's personal life has become a money maker.

At Spencer's Gifts Express in the Meadowbrook Mall, employees are selling more Clinton masks than in previous years. The masks got a makeover this year, turning the president into Wild Bill -- it's the only presidential mask ever to sport lipstick smears and it also features the tongue hanging out of the mouth.