WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House under siege? You wouldn't know it from the vacation lineup.

While President Clinton's summer getaway will be delayed by his Aug. 17 grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky investigation, some of his top advisers are blissfully going ahead with their own plans.

In the next two weeks leading up to Clinton's critical testimony, chief White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff will escape for 10 days to New England. Deputy counsel Lanny Breuer will take his turn after Ruff.

Press secretary Mike McCurry, the man at the front line of any Clinton controversy, was taking off Friday for two full weeks. He said he would be back on the job the morning of Clinton's videotaped questioning by Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

``I'll be so far in the deep hollows of South Carolina that you won't find me,'' McCurry told reporters.

Was he deliberately skipping town as Clinton prepared for perhaps the most critical day of his political life? ``Yes, deliberately,'' McCurry sniffed as if the question were absurd. ``I'm not haphazardly getting out of town.''

Among other high-ranking West Wing staff, deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey, a central figure in Starr's investigation, is recovering from back surgery and is expected to stay put for the month of August. Also staying on the job will be senior adviser Rahm Emanuel, who just returned from two weeks in Portugal, and PR-strategist Paul Begala, who won't leave until after Clinton testifies.

McCurry called the staff vacations ``a sign that there's not much that's going to happen on this (Lewinsky) matter for the next 10 days or two weeks.''