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Clinton Plays The Answer Man

President Clinton on Friday answered 8l written questions submitted to him by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde.

The president and his lawyers stuck to their previous defense and previous positions: No perjury, no abuse of power, no impeachable offenses.resident said.

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It was not clear Friday whether the president's responses meet Hyde's demand for "complete and specific answers" - or else.

CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports that the answers given by the president rely heavily on what he has said before. The difference is, these answers are written, his audience is a politically hostile committee of Congress and the chairman of the committee, Henry Hyde, has warned that any answer short of the truth could itself constitute new grounds for impeachment.

The bulk of the committee's questions bore in on the president's record of skillful evasions.

Question 42, for example asks: Given that the president gave Monica Lewinsky some 13 separate gifts, does he admit it was false to testify he couldn't recall any gifts?

Mr. Clinton's answer: "I didn't mean to suggest that ... I meant that I did not recall what the gifts were."

In response to series of questions on whether he coaxed Lewinsky to conceal their relationship, one of the presidents answers asserts, "I did not tell Ms. Lewinsky to lie, and I did not tell anybody to lie about my relationship with Ms. Lewinsky."

Despite that assertion, the president admits and expresses regret that he did mislead several White House staffers about Lewinsky - staffers who then told false stories to the public. Mr. Clinton says again his conduct was wrong.

Three potential articles of impeachment are already being prepared against the president. The question is: Will these written answers so irritate committee Republicans that they will find more grounds for impeachment? Or, will they subpoena the president to appear before the committee personally?

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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