Clinton’s Approach to the Nation
When Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky surfaced in 1998, President Bill Clinton addressed the nation in two vastly different speeches with the intention to clear his name and gain forgiveness from the American people for committing adultery. “I Misled the people” was Clinton’s first attempt in gaining the understanding of the nation. The second time he spoke to the public in his “I Have Sinned” speech he asked the forgiveness of the nation.
Being a President under investigation for a deceptive crime such as adultery, he came off as defensive in his first speech concerning the situation, “I Misled the People.” He strategically placed words to shift the blame elsewhere in self-defense. He stated “...that was not appropriate,” when referring to his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky (I Misled the People 1). Clinton managed to take away the weight of the word inappropriate by shifting it to not appropriate. The word appropriate has a positive connotation to it in that it’s something people strive for and something people need to stand by to get along in society. The word not is a common adverb that doesn’t hold much weight, it clarifies what the subject did. Therefore, simply saying not appropriate instead of inappropriate takes away a piece of the blame. Later in his speech, The President asked the nation to “turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months” (1). By definition, a spectacle is a visually striking performance or show. Clinton could have just as easily referred to it as a situation and taken responsibility for his actions. In choosing the word spectacle he insinuated that the audience is at fault for using him as a form of entertainment. Shortly after, Clinton ended his speech by telling the American people to stop “prying into private lives” (1). As a form of defense he has once again pinned the responsibility on the audience. Prying has a threatening feel associated with it; by using it he is...
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