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The Art Of The Wiggle

A master at choosing his words carefully, President Clinton has managed to slip out of some sticky situations with an artful dodge.

The most famous of all may have been his appearance during the first presidential campaign in 1992 on 60 Minutes, an interview that helped put his flailing campaign back on track.

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Asked about a 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers, the presidential hopeful said flatly, "That allegation is false."

Everyone assumed he was denying an affair with Flowers until earlier this year when, in a deposition for the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit, he admitted having had sexual relations Flowers.

But he didn't lie on 60 Minutes. What was false about the allegation was not that the two had had an affair, but that the affair had continued for 12 years.

That presidential campaign was famous as well for the president's admission, after much bobbing and weaving, that he had tried marijuana but didn't inhale. In answer to one question about using marijuana, he sidestepped with the comment: "I never broke the laws of my country."

It later turned out that he was studying in England when he didn't inhale.

It's not surprising that, with incidents like these, the press is watching the president's syntax with extra care and taking more pains than usual to pin him down.

By MARY JAYNE McKAY, producer