What others say

Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Condit has only himself to blame for his troubles

If Rep. Gary Condit figured he could spin his way out of the morass the California Democrat has found himself in since the disappearance of former intern Chandra Levy last spring, his recent letter to constituents and follow-up interview with ABC's Connie Chung were not the tickets.

The embattled congressman's defensiveness, evasive answers to questions and eager desire to blame the news media for much of his plight have only managed to make him sink further into a chasm of his own making.

During the ABC interview, Condit claimed he fully cooperated with police investigating Levy's disappearance, even though the truth of the matter is that his cooperation came piece by piece, and only after much time.

Although he readily answered no to Chung's questions about whether he had anything to do with Levy's disappearance, knew anything about it or knew or caused anyone to harm her, he repeatedly evaded any straightforward answer concerning his relationship with Levy and could not bring himself to actually apologize to the Levy family for the pain and suffering his several months of evasive answers and stonewalling have caused them. ...

Despite the help of advisers and handlers, Condit's first extended public comments likely will not help him or revive his sagging congressional career. They lack sincerity, are too defensive and evasive. They lack the plain simplicity, forthrightness and verity most people long for even if they have largely given up getting them from any politician. And, perhaps even more importantly, Condit's comments have come four months too late.

-- The Salt Lake Tribune

Aug. 28

Interview did nothing to help Condit clear air in Levy case

Did anyone actually expect Gary Condit

to go on national television and admit, ''Yes, I had sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Levy''? Probably not, but it's doubtful that many of the estimated 20 million Americans who watched the California congressman's interview were satisfied by his carefully parsed answers to ABC's Connie Chung.

There are complaints that Ms. Chung badgered the congressman with her insistent attempts to gain new information, but it must be remembered that the TV interview was Mr. Condit's idea. If he did not intend to be more forthcoming about his self-described ''very close'' relationship with Chandra Levy, why did he choose to have a huge national audience hear him so obviously evade difficult questions?

-- The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Aug. 27

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