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Sen. Sorry for Broaddrick Comments

February 27, 1999

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Sen. James Jeffords apologized Friday after saying Juanita Broaddrick’s allegations that President Clinton sexually assaulted her are a ``private matter.″

``I think that the kinds of things like that are supposedly private affairs and should stay that way,″ the Vermont Republican said on a radio show.

Pressed by host Mark Johnson on Burlington radio station WKDR, the senator said, ``I don’t know why it wouldn’t be a private matter. If something that happened 21 years ago with a woman who invited, at least under her story, the president to her hotel room and she was not happy with what happened, I don’t know why that’s not a private matter.″

Mrs. Broaddrick, an Arkansas nursing home administrator, said Clinton came to her hotel room in 1978 and sexually assaulted her. Clinton was the Arkansas attorney general at the time.

Clinton’s private lawyer, David Kendall, has called the allegations ``absolutely false.″

On the radio program, Jeffords questioned Broaddrick’s truthfulness and the timing of her allegations.

Jeffords, who is up for re-election next year, later issued an apology.

``Juanita Broaddrick’s statements are disturbing and should be taken seriously, as any claim of rape should be. ... I truly apologize if my inarticulate comments this morning gave anyone the wrong impression,″ he said.

During Clinton’s impeachment trial, Jeffords was the first Republican senator to go public with his decision to vote to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment.

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