September 24, 1998
For many young women, the scandal surrounding President Clinton strikes a chord because of Monica Lewinsky's age. In this third installment of a series, Betty Ann Bowser talks with Omaha's young women about Lewinsky's role in the Clinton crisis.
A realaudio version of this segment is available.
September 23, 1998:
Omaha's religious leaders on President Clinton's moral standing.
September 22, 1998:
An introduction to Omaha.
September 21, 1998:
NewsHour historians discuss the president's testimony.
September 21, 1998:
Two former federal prosecutor's discuss how the testimony looked to them.
September 18, 1998:
Shield and Gigot analyze the partisan struggle over the release of grand jury evidence.
September 18, 1998:
How is the world media covering the Lewinsky matter?
September 17, 1998:
A discussion on the videotape debate.
September 16, 1998:
Senator Daschle discusses President Clinton's problems.
September 15, 1998:
Two members of the House Judiciary Committee debate releasing President Clinton's videotaped testimony.
September 14, 1998:
A discussion on the media's coverage of the Starr report.
September 11, 1998:
The Starr report and White House rebuttal.
September 11, 1998:
Mark Shields and Paul Gigot debate the potential impact of Kenneth Starr's referral to Congress.
September 11, 1998:
Two former federal prosecutors examine the legal issues presented in the Starr report.
September 10, 1998:
What is the constitutional basis for impeaching a president?
September 9, 1998:
Kenneth Starr drops off his case to the House.
September 3, 1998:
Four former senators discuss whether the president should step down.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of Omaha road trip,Starr investigation, the White House and Congress.
The Omaha homepage.
The White House homepage.
The House Judiciary Committee.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: It's only September, and yet upperclassmen at the University of Nebraska at Omaha have already begun to worry about what kinds of jobs to pursue after graduation. That means this office -- the Career Planning and Placement Center -- has been a hub of activity as counselors try to help students draft resumes and find internships.
COUNSELOR: We'd love to get you acquainted with what our services are.
A new awareness of problems in the workplace.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Nancy Nish, director of the center, says the White House scandal has brought more publicity to the word "internship" than she ever thought possible. She says, she hopes it will serve to make young women more aware of potential problems in the workplace.
NANCY NISH: Invariably I find that when I'm talking to students that they are somewhat surprised that there are laws related to appropriate and inappropriate interview questions and appropriate and inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Marilyn Marks is a junior looking for an internship in the communications field. She is quick to say that she could never imagine herself in a situation similar to that of Monica Lewinsky.
MARILYN MARKS: I wouldn't subject myself to that. I wouldn't put myself in that predicament. And I feel that she did. I felt like she went into the situation with a purpose in mind. And when she couldn't get what she wanted out of it, she held that against him: you know, get me a job or I'll blow the whistle on you.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Marks is also troubled by Lewinsky's seeming lack of remorse.
"She's as much to blame as he is."
MARILYN MARKS: One thing that really bothers me-it's the fact that I've never heard her apologize-I've never heard her apologize to Mrs. Clinton, because I feel that she wronged Mrs. Clinton in participating in this activity with the President. She's as much to blame as he is. She knew he was married. She knew he had a wife, and she went ahead anyway and did what she did.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Melissa Buck-- a senior-- is also looking for an internship. This fall she's working in the campus information office but someday hopes to go to Washington, DC to become a political intern. She says the events of the past few months give a distorted image of the job.
MELISSA BUCK: You only hear about the bad stuff. I don't think we spend enough time trying to hear enough about the good stuff that goes on in politics. Not every intern is going to have an affair with their President. Not everybody is going to get into a relationship with a married person. It just -- we don't hear the good stories. We don't hear about people who -- well, I had an internship, now I'm working in the government, now I'm working in this agency. We don't hear about that stuff. And I mean, I know there's still stuff like that out there. I know Washington is not just this scary town where you go there and you're going to get harassed by all these older men just because you're 21. I mean, I'm not scared.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: But senior Kyle Jones thinks that too many women are naive about what can happen in the workplace. Last year she worked as a paralegal intern at an Omaha law firm.
An uncomfortable choice.
KYLE JONES: I found that many of the middle-aged, too-older men, they came in, the lawyers who had the power and the prestige felt that they could say virtually anything to me. They would make sexual remarks, very crude remarks in the context of joking. And yet it was not a joke. They were directed at me. And I was uncomfortable with it but at the same time what can you do? I needed that job. And I would need future internships and these would be the people I would get recommendations for. And so, you know, you want to be good-natured about it. You laugh it off, you know, ha, ha, you know, you guys are funny, and you let it go.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Jones said unfortunately she also knows that many young women initiate inappropriate behavior, thinking it can help their career. She thinks that was the case with Lewinsky.
KYLE JONES: As a na´ve, yet very ambitious young woman, she had this opportunity to have this very close, intimate relationship with the most powerful man in the world. And knowing, as she does, that having a relationship like that would immediately catapult her into these circles of power and prestige, I don't know how many people would actually avoid that opportunity -- if you were ambitious and if you did not have the moral conflicts or concerns, and you knew that this would get you where you wanted to go, and you knew that our society would condone it, because that's how things are done, I think that a lot of people would do that.
EVE McLAIN: She set us back about 10 feet right there. She used a man to get what she perceived as where she needed to be in life. And I can't condone that.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Senior Eve McLain works in the women's resource center on campus where she counsels young women who have sexual harassment complaints. She is also an intern at an Omaha architecture firm.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: How has this impacted you as a woman in terms of how you look at the world?
One more issue to raise with children.
EVE McLAIN: I want to identify with her but I have a hard time identifying with what she did. The problem also stands in the fact that I want to have children someday and this is really raising a lot of moral issues, because I'm going to raise children. Should I start talking to them about not just sex, not just AIDS, not just every problem facing America -- but if you have an older man -- or even a younger man - of specific power, don't lust after him. You don't want to be with him. There is so much to teach children nowadays. And I feel that it puts more responsibility on me now -- one more thing to add to the list: Don't forget to tell your child "don't sleep with the President."
BETTY ANN BOWSER: While most of the women we talked with felt that Lewinsky was at least as responsible as the president for the inappropriate behavior, senior Amy Kopocis put the blame squarely on the president. Kopocis works as an intern three days a week at a prestigious Omaha law firm. She's also 21, a year younger than Lewinsky was when she began her intimate relationship with the president.
AMY KOPOCIS: I think that it's been very eye opening and very disturbing. I've been very disheartened by it. It's opened my eyes a lot to how the real world works, and that while I'm in college and I'm learning about equal rights and women in the workplace and that type of thing, that look at the person who controls the United States. Look what he's doing and look what he's done we might not even know about -- and, you know, all these questions. I think that it is kind of like a slap in the face.
Another young woman affected: Chelsea Clinton.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Kopocis says she has great sympathy for another young woman who has been greatly affected by all this: Chelsea Clinton.
AMY KOPOCIS: I cannot imagine the strength it must take her to get up every day when the rest of the world and the rest of that campus is talking about her father. To have to bear the weight of your father's actions like that is just incredible. I mean, it would be incredible for anyone -- let alone someone who's the daughter of the President of the United States. I can't fathom it.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Kopocis and her classmates say the White House scandal has significantly affected the way they view not only the highest office in government but the work environment in general.