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Jackson Jr.: Preserve The Party

The House votes Thursday on whether to open impeachment hearings on President Clinton. As the days have ticked closer to vote-time, the Democratic Party (on the Hill) has found itself in disarray.

The Democrats are expected to offer an alternative to the Republican resolution that calls for an open-ended and unlimited look at Mr. Clinton's actions in the Lewinsky matter, beyond the Starr report. However, they do not believe they can win because the Republicans hold the majority in the House.

To make matters worse, those Democrats facing tough re-elections may be inclined to vote with the Republicans, and those Democrats who are retiring may vote on principle; therefore, against the president.

Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat from Illinois, joined CBS This Morning to talk about how to save the party:

"There are some things that the president can do that can help motivate the democratic base, just as Republicans are using the Lewinsky matter to mobilize the family values base that has given them the majority."

Jackson says the president holds the key to moving beyond the impeachment issue and toward matters such as Medicare and Social Security.

He suggests the President support the impeachment inquiry and take the moral highground, which, in effect, would take the wind out of the Republican sails. Then, the party can turn to the public, which does not want to see the president impeached.

"The president politically has done what is right. He has shared with the American people that he has made a significant mistake," says Jackson, adding, "We can turn this election into the central Constitutional question for which the American people have already answered - that this extramarital relationship, one he has been deceitful about, does not reach the Constitutional standard for impeachment..."

Jackson maintains the only way for the party to be saved, and thereby what is left of the Clinton presidency, is for the White House to realize it has to save the party first - at the electoral polls - and then it will have a base from which to save the president.

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