Talking Points: Congressman Condit

Gary Condit says he will talk with Connie Chung of ABC News on Thursday   evening.  And that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo.

Well, good for Connie.  I hope she makes him sweat.  And it is the   sweat factor that ensures Congressman Condit will never sashay into the no-  spin zone.  We would apply the maximum amount of heat, perhaps Ms. Chung   will, too.  And there's another Democratic congressman who will not speak   with us either.  His name is Richard Gephardt.  And we've been trying to   get him in here for years.  Mr. Gephardt did appear with Tim Russert on   Sunday and said some interesting things about Condit. 


TIM RUSSERT, NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS":  He is on the House Intelligence   Committee.  You know him.  Is he trustworthy?  Is he a man of honor?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER:  He is.  And further   than that, if he were subject to blackmail, it would have been before a lot of this stuff was publicly known.  Gary Condit is doing what he should do.    He is cooperating with the authorities.  He is answering their questions.    He's trying to help find this young woman, if it's possible.  And he'll   have to stand the consequences for whatever went on here when the facts are   well known. 


O'REILLY:  A man of honor?  My first question for Richard Gephardt   would be to define an honorable man.  Is it a man who lies to the police and a family desperately trying to find its daughter?  Is that a man who   has a string of affairs and tells his mistresses that his wife is gravely   ill, when she's fully functional?  Is that the kind of guy who embarrasses his country and then decides to run for office again, even though most of his constituents want him out?

Congressman Gephardt is above all, a partisan Democrat.  His entire philosophy is built around party politics, not around what's best for America in my opinion, of course.  I believe the days of fanatical party   politicians are nearing an end.  Most Americans want honest leadership and   creative problem solving.  They want fairness and strength, not foolish party line pronouncements, at least that's what the polls say.

Actually, President Clinton is partially responsible for the decline of the party.  His partying led to embarrassing displays of spin from loyal Democrats, displays that even the most rabid partisans knew were insulting.

And the Republicans do the same kind of thing when the GOP fractured over the leadership of Newt Gingrich in the mid '90's.  Republican spinners were out in force trying to put a happy face on it.  Sure.

Richard Gephardt's defense of Gary Condit is simply dumb.  Nobody with any sense is buying the honorable man business, but Gephardt is so addicted to the party line, that he can't hear how foolish he sounds.  So, I'm here to tell him.  Hey, congressman, Gary Condit is not honorable.  And neither are you for saying he is.  Clear?  And that's the memo.

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