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Clinton Ally Moran Becomes Critic

September 16, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. Jim Moran, a moderate Democrat who for six years has been closely allied with President Clinton’s political agenda, is suggesting that Clinton consider resigning.

``There clearly is some hemorrhaging going on within the Democratic Party, within the Congress as a whole and particularly within the country,″ the Virginia Democrat told reporters Wednesday.

``He’s got to stanch that flow, the president has to come up with a way ... to put an end to this and I’m just not creative enough to think of a way other than resignation that would do that. But maybe he can. If he can, more power to him.″

Only one congressional Democrat, retiring Pennsylvania Rep. Paul McHale, has come out for Clinton to resign over his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and his attempt to cover it up.

But Moran, a former amateur boxer known for not mincing his words, has stopped just short of that in several statements over the last week, suggesting that resignation may be the best, or only, way out of this political disaster.

``I don’t know that we’re distancing ourselves from him,″ he said last week. ``I think we are trying to ensure that the people understand that this is not what the Democratic Party is all about.″

``My concern is what it does to the presidency, what it does to all those kids out there who strive to be president, you know, the kind of inspiration that caused Bill Clinton to devote his life to public service,″ he said Wednesday.

Moran was first elected to his northern Virginia district in 1990 as a moderate Democrat who, like Clinton, has supported a traditional Democratic agenda but at the same time backed proposals to cut taxes and balance the budget.

A fiery speaker and staunch defender of his ideas, Moran several years ago engaged in a shoving match with a Republican colleague who he thought made insulting comments on the House floor.

Moran said he didn’t think his comments would sway the president. Resignation, he said, ``would have to be at his own initiative and not as a result of public or political pressure.″

``I know that the president is not at that stage, and I would not expect any resignation anytime soon.″

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