Monica, Monica, Monica.
Marylanders said they are tired of hearing about former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and her reported affair with President Clinton.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty to say.
Rebecca Nelson, 32, a janitor at the Motor Vehicle Administration in Glen Burnie, said Friday that she doesn’t care if Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky. She said he’s still “a cool dude” and, shaking her finger, said Lewinsky is lying.
“I think it’s a bunch of hogwash, scandalous B.S.,” said an angry Nelson. “I don’t actually believe he had an intimate relationship with her. She blew it out of proportion.”
Nelson said she believed one of Lewinsky’s old boyfriends who said Lewinsky has a “tendency to fabricate.”
But Bob Glenn, 26, said he thinks it’s an issue of morality that the American people should not turn their backs on. Glenn, a Republican from Bel Air, said he could never think of cheating on his wife, as Clinton has been accused of doing.
“The guy is married. Forget he’s the president — he’s a husband and a father first,” he said. “I’m very tired of hearing about her and the affair. I don’t get too hung up in daily gossip and rumors.”
But many Marylanders were like Scott Murray, 34, a Hagerstown audio engineer who was more concerned Friday with loading groceries into his truck at the Sam’s Club in Frederick than talking about Monicagate.
“It’s the president’s life,” Murray said. “Keep it private. Let him do his job.”
Americans appear ready to do just that, according to recent polls on the president’s popularity.
On the day after his State of the Union address, Clinton scored a 67 percent approval rating in a one-night USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll. It was the highest rating of his presidency.
Another poll taken Wednesday in Minnesota by Mason-Dixon Campaign Polling and Strategy Inc. gave Clinton an approval rating of 70 percent, his highest approval rating in that state.
“The key thing is this: Should he resign if he did have sex with her?” said Mason-Dixon Senior Vice President Del Ali. “Sixty-five percent say no, he shouldn’t resign.
“But the same number say he should resign if he told anyone to lie under oath,” said Ali.
O.J. Keller, a Frederick County real estate agent, said he’s not making any moral judgments about the president. But he questioned Clinton’s intelligence, given previous charges of infidelity against him.
“If he got caught with Gennifer Flowers, why would he do it all over again?” asked Keller, 56. “If he is found guilty (of lying about Lewinsky), he has a lot more to lose than Monica does.”
Pasadena resident Pat Ernst, 43, called Clinton “pretty dirty” and said the president’s credibility has dropped steadily with each White House scandal.
“Obviously he lied about the first affair (with Flowers), so he’s probably lying about this,” Ernst said, standing next to a bank of newspaper boxes that featured Lewinsky’s picture on their front pages.
Harriet Tucker, 46, a night cook at the Washington Hotel Inn in Princess Anne stopped what she was doing and confidently said that Clinton is a great president.
But Brian Smith, a 42-year-old Frederick field engineer, was indifferent about Monicagate.
“If he’s guilty, get him out of office,” Smith said. “If he’s not, let him do his job.”
Kendra Shore, 20, a junior at the University of Maryland College Park, was full of opinions on the scandal, most of them centered on the media’s handling of the issue.
“I’ve been really upset about the way the media has been,” said Shore, who called Lewinsky “a consenting adult.”
Scott Bradley, 33, an electrical engineer from Annapolis, said he has no way of knowing if Clinton is guilty.
“I think that Clinton will survive this political crisis because I have seen no evidence upon which he can be convicted,” Bradley said. “And I don’t think he would have made the bold denials if he felt he could be convicted.”
Jeff Frederick, 29, owner of Fred Frederick Chrysler Plymouth Jeep in Easton, struggled to describe what he thought of the latest White House scandal.
“Bill Clinton carefully selected his words when responding to the allegations,” Frederick said. “If you accused me, I’d say, `Hell no, I didn’t do that.'”
But College Park student Michelle Desrosiers, 23, said the need for the president to respond to such charges at all is just a reflection of our times.
“It’s very unpresidential that he was caught, but it (adultery) is a very presidential thing to do,” she said during a break from studying Friday at the campus student union. –Capital News Service reporters Scott Albright, Chris Bubeck, Chris Gosier and Taylor Lincoln contributed to this report.