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Poll-vaulting

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Post-impeachment polls argue that Americans don't want President Clinton removed. But according to the Wall Street Journal, only one national survey, conducted by Rasmussen Research, gives clues as to why.

Rasmussen found that 61 percent of Americans believe Clinton deserves to lose his job, yet just 37 percent want the Senate to remove him. The discrepancy is explained when the 24 percent who don't like either Clinton or conviction are asked why. About 10 percent have equal contempt for Congress, and another 10 percent think removal from office would be bad for the country. The rest don't like Gore. Interestingly, 39 percent of those surveyed believe the president has committed other impeachable offenses that are more serious than those that have come to light in the Lewinsky scandal.

"Clinton's repeated attacks on Iraq and his bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan are impeachable," says Michael Ratner, an attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in Washington, D.C. "The reason the framers wanted the president to go to Congress before going to war was that they were afraid someone in that office might make war for their own aggrandizement or own motivation."

The 1973 War Powers Act, which gives executives a loophole, is itself unconstitutional, according to Eugene Carroll, a retired admiral with the Washington-based Center for Defense Information. "If I was a member of the Supreme Court, I would have found against both Reagan `for Grenada` and Bush `for Panama` for creating an illegal state of war. Both were impeachable offenses."


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