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Lewinsky Return Still Draws Crowd

August 20, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A flash of that raven hair and gray outfit and she was inside, swallowed up by the stark, stone courthouse. Outside stood a father and his sons, forced by a president’s predicament to talk about matters the family would have preferred to leave until later in childhood.

``Oh my, yes, we wouldn’t have had That Talk″ if not for President Clinton’s situation, said Kevin Leppla of Wooster, Ohio, who came by with his boys to see Monica Lewinsky in her return to the grand jury where she first testified two weeks ago. ``Makes you have interesting discussions you thought you wouldn’t have.″

Once again Ms. Lewinsky was swept into the side entrance, climbing out of a Land Cruiser that had been followed across town by trackers for the waiting camera crews. (``She’s at Pennsylvania and Seventh,″ crackled a voice on two-way radio. ``She’s at Sixth. ... She’s coming down the ramp.″)

When a reporter asked her inside whether Clinton should apologize, she said nothing, but took a sharp turn in the courtroom hallway on her way to the grand jury room on the third floor.

There was no animated shrug like last time, no hugs in view of the cameras for the people with her. She wore a conservative two-piece suit with a teal blouse, and left five hours later, in sunglasses, as quickly as she had come.

Her second appearance lacked some of the drama of the first.

Passersby stopped to gawk at all the cameras, then moved on. With a break in Washington’s usual muggy August weather, the Republican activists who handed out ice-cold lemonade two weeks ago didn’t show.

A demonstrator carried a placard accusing prosecutor Kenneth Starr of ``political terrorism.″ Another wore a fake beard and held a sign reading, Will Judge for Food.

The open-air media tents and umbrellas scattered along Constitution Avenue stood as testament to the ongoing battle. Close to two dozen satellite TV poles stretched into the sky from trucks and vans.

From such technology, the story of a president and intern is being told, a story Leppla and his family could not escape in Ohio.

So they discussed the facts of life _ not only sex, but how fallible human beings fill an office that kids are taught to venerate, how presidents ``don’t get special treatment″ when they do something wrong, and how, before all this, the presidency had an aura that now seems gone.

``You always wonder when you’re going to have that talk,″ Leppla said, in town for an all-guys vacation with Brandon, 9, and Nicholas, 12.

``I’ve had that talk,″ Brandon piped up.

``I don’t think he should get in trouble,″ the boy said, ``because people have sex every day. Sometimes they’re married. Sometimes they’re not.″

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