PEGGY NOONAN: "They were in shock. So were members of the press, who knew Mr. Dale [Billy Dale who had worked at the White House for 30 years] and his colleagues as honest and professional. A firestorm ensued.
Under criticism the White House changed its story. They said that they were just trying to cut unneeded staff and save money. Then they said they were trying to impose a competitive bidding process. They tried a new explanation—the travel office shake-up was connected to Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review. (Alm...ost immediately Mr. Gore said that was not true.) The White House then said it was connected to a campaign pledge to cut the White House staff by 25%. Finally they claimed the workers hadn’t been fired at all but placed on indefinite “administrative leave.”
Why so many stories? Because the real one wasn’t pretty." All along Mrs. Clinton publicly insisted she had no knowledge of the firings. Then it became barely any knowledge, then barely any involvement. When the story blew up she said under oath that she had “no role in the decision to terminate the employees.” She did not “direct that any action be taken by anyone.” In a deposition she denied having had a role in the firings, and said she was unable to remember conversations with various staffers with any specificity. So—that was the Clintons’ first big Washington scandal. It showed what has now become the Clinton Scandal Ritual: lie, deny, revise, claim not to remember specifics, stall for time. When it passes, call the story “old news” full of questions that have already been answered. “As I’ve repeatedly said . . .” More scandals would follow.
They all showed poor judgment on the part of the president, and usually Mrs. Clinton. They all included a startling willingness—and ability—to dissemble.
People watched and got a poor impression.The point is it didn’t start the past few years, it started almost a quarter-century ago. You have to wonder, what are the chances it will change?"