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Tourists Flock to Lewinsky Scene

August 6, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ George Hancock had no idea he would become part of today’s Big Moment when he arrived in Washington as just another tourist, en route to Niagara Falls.

But there were Hancock and his mother, Phyllis, marching around with bright yellow signs outside the federal courthouse when Monica Lewinsky arrived to testify before the grand jury.

The tourists from Bowling Green, Ky., carried posters they had printed up at Kinko’s the night before that said ``Mothers for Monica″ and ``Monica Tells Truth, Slick Willie Must.″

``Daddy’s back at the hotel, thinking we’re idiots,″ Mrs. Hancock said. ``He didn’t want any part of this.″

Reporters asked the two if they were anti-Clinton. ``We’re just anti-trash,″ said George Hancock, 32.

More than a hundred reporters, 22 satellite TV trucks, even a mechanical hoist for a birds-eye camera view, were assembled outside the courthouse for Ms. Lewinsky’s arrival, but the moment came and went, oh so quickly.

Her black sport utility vehicle pulled up to a side entrance earlier than expected and Ms. Lewinsky was inside within seconds, without walking the gantlet of reporters that other grand jury witnesses have had to navigate.

Tourist Cheri Tatum, of Tulsa, Okla, is becoming something of an expert on Ms. Lewinsky. She drove past Ms. Lewinsky’s apartment at the Watergate complex while visiting Washington in February and managed to catch a photo of the former intern.

This morning, back in Washington on another visit, Ms. Tatum was on her way to the National Gallery when she spied the crowd outside the courthouse.

``I just wish my teen-agers were here to see this,″ she said, predicting they would get a laugh out of her latest photos.

A spandexed biker who pedaled past the courthouse scene struck a more serious tone.

``It certainly is important for America,″ said Terrence Motayme, of nearby Silver Spring, Md. ``This could make or break the president.″

Even with such weighty matters at issue, though, a person’s still gotta eat.

Lewinsky spokeswoman Judy Smith and two of Ms. Lewinsky’s lawyers went to the courthouse cafeteria a little more than an hour after her arrival.

Smith bought two doughnuts and hot chocolate but wouldn’t say who the food was for, or anything about Ms. Lewinsky’s state of mind or whether she got a good night’s sleep.

``Why don’t you all read the paper, kick back,″ she said with a laugh as she wound her way through a crowd of about 20 reporters who followed her through the checkout line.

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