Re: $$ Bovard Book-Title Contest

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Sun Jan 16 2000 - 08:48:41 MST

Nah, That's the definition of weasel-worded hairsplitting. Big diff.

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> > The REAL Definition of "IS"
> Actually, most people have heard this quote out of context. The way this
> sound bite was spread around, it sounds ludicrous.. The actual
> interrogation was much more logical and lawyerly legalistic. Not to defend
> Clinton, but just to provide "the rest of the story....". (These are gross
> paraphrases from my memory, not real quotes, but the meaning is the same.)
> Prosecutor: From the previous court transcript, you were asked "Is there
> any affair with Ms. Lewinski?" To which you answered, "No, there is no
> affair with Ms. Lewinski." In a later deposition, when reviewing that same
> question, you admitted that there was an affair at one time with Ms.
> Lewinski. Doesn't this prove that you committed perjury, and didn't you
> admit to it while under oath to tell the truth?
> President: Not at all. The answer to the question depends on what the
> definition of the word "is" is. If you take the word to mean its proper
> English meaning of present-tense existence, then my answer was correct. At
> the time the question was first asked, my involvement with Ms. Lewinski had
> long been terminated. I could not say "There is an affair", because that
> would have been untrue. I could only say "There was an affair". That would
> have been true, but that question was never asked.
> Prosecutor: Weren't you sworn to tell the truth, including the whole truth?
> President: Yes, but only in response to questions asked of me. No
> defendant is required under law to answer questions that have not been
> asked.
> Prosecutor: Then why did you expand your answer to admit to an earlier
> affair when you were asked the identical question at a later deposition?
> President: The question was reinterpreted. Although the question was read
> out of the prior transcript so that it would be the same question again, I
> was instructed to interpret the word "is" to also include all past-tense
> occurrences as well. This was a different interpretation of the question,
> since I had not previously interpreted the word "is" to be a past-tense
> verb. The reinterpreted question now asked if I currently had or ever
> previously had an affair with Ms. Lewinski. I answered that question
> truthfully. I said "At one time there was an affair with Ms. Lewinski.
> Presently, there is no affair with Ms. Lewinski." Both answers were
> truthful and complete. The change was in the redefinition of the question,
> not in a redefinition of my answer.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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