President Clinton accepted an apology Tuesday from the journalist who wrote the article that sparked Paula Jones’ sexual harassment suit against the president and sowed the seeds for the current White House sex scandal.
Clinton’s reaction came after former American Spectator reporter David Brock apologized to Clinton in an open letter in the April edition of Esquire magazine. Brock said he questioned the credibility of the sources he used in his 1993 article.
“The president read the article and he appreciates and accepts Mr. Brock’s apology,” White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said.
The conservative reporter who wrote the 1993 article in The American Spectator detailing allegations of Clinton’s sexual liaisons in Arkansas now says he regrets his work and openly questioned whether his story was true.
In the Esquire article, Brock said he had mistakenly left the first name “Paula” in the story of how Arkansas state troopers allegedly helped then-Gov. Clinton procure women for sexual trysts. That mistake, he said, led to Paula Jones filing a sexual harassment suit against Clinton, which in turn led to allegations that Clinton carried on a sexual affair with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.
“I don’t know what happened between you and Monica Lewinsky any more than I know how much of Troopergate or Paula Jones’s story is true,” Brock wrote in an open letter to the president. “But regardless of how the drama plays out, as the first reporter who leered into your sex life, I do know that I didn’t learn a damn thing worth knowing about your character.
“I also know that if we continue down this path, if sexual witch hunts become the way to win in politics, if they become our politics altogether, we can and will destroy everyone in public life,” Brock wrote.
The original article, which appeared in December 1993, detailed how state troopers had allegedly helped procure women for Clinton and protected him from being caught in numerous adulterous acts. But in the Esquire article, Brock questioned the veracity of the troopers who provided most of the information he used and conceded his own conservative agenda, his eagerness, he said, “to pop you right between the eyes.”
Brock, once a darling of the conservative movement, lost favor after the publication of a somewhat sympathetic book on Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1996. He said he would have left the name “Paula” out of his original story if he had known the chain reaction he was about to cause. Brock said he left out several other names mentioned by the troopers.
“I should have removed the name,” he said. “It was just an oversight. Surely, this will go down as one of the more fateful oversights in the history of your presidency.”