Feb. 17 1999 3:30 AM

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William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

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2/15/99 The Senate acquits President Clinton 55-45 on perjury and 50-50 on obstruction of justice, well short of the two-thirds vote required. Democrats vote unanimously for acquittal, joined by 10 Republicans on perjury and five on obstruction. Censure fails on a procedural motion, so Democrats and several Republicans sign an unofficial censure statement instead. Clinton says he's "profoundly sorry ... for what I said and did to trigger these events." Reporters sniff for signs of celebration at the White House but come up empty. Senators congratulate themselves for conscience, bipartisanship, and fidelity to the Constitution. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., the chief House prosecutor, urges Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to drop the idea of indicting Clinton. Polls indicate that the public supports the verdict and wants to move on.

Chance of removal from office: Zero.

2/12/99 Amid expectations that neither impeachment article will get majority support in the Senate, both sides gear up for the aftermath. Everyone agrees censure is doomed. Thursday's New York Times leak: Clinton is furious at House Republicans for impeaching him and is determined to drive them from office. Friday's Times leak: Clinton is furious at the "advisers" who leaked that story before the Senate vote and is determined to drive them from office. Zero

2/10/99 Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott aims for a final vote by 5 p.m. Thursday. The suspense is over how many Republicans will vote no on the obstruction of justice article. Sens. John Chafee, R-R.I.; James Jeffords, R-Vt.; and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., say they'll vote no. Meanwhile, Republicans turn against censure, accusing its Democratic backers of "seeking cover" for voting to acquit President Clinton. Zero

2/9/99 The Senate begins final deliberations after voting to close the deliberations to outsiders. The idealistic spin: Kicking out the media will allow senators to reach their verdict based on reason and conscience. The cynical spin: Democrats voted to open the deliberations and Republicans voted to close them because both sides know Democrats are on the politically popular side of the debate. Facing the certainty of Clinton's acquittal, a few more Senate Republicans concede they could vote for censure. Zero

(For earlier entries and the Clintometer Uncertainty Principle, click here.)

--William Saletan

Direct links to all recent Slate stories on the scandal.

"Clinton on Trial"

Dispatches by Slate's political correspondent, David Plotz.

Posted Feb. 12: The Senate acquits itself.

Posted Feb. 9: Great expectations.

Posted Feb. 8: A pecking or a choking?

Posted Feb. 4: The rush to judgment.

Posted Feb. 3: A tale of two trials.

Posted Jan. 27: Among the hyenas.

Posted Jan. 26: The managers murder the genie.

Posted Jan. 25: The Senate behaves like itself.

Posted Jan. 22: Notions to dismiss.

Posted Jan. 21: Clinton's other jurors.

Posted Jan. 20: A woman's touch.

Posted Jan. 19: The State of the Union speech.

Posted Jan. 19: Chuck Ruff takes the offensive.

Posted Jan. 15: The sideshow freaks.

Posted Jan. 14: Is the ninth time the charm?

Posted Jan. 12: Why the Senate will become more like the House.

Posted Jan. 7: The Senate says, "I do."

Posted Dec. 19: The gloom and rancor of the debate.

Posted Dec. 18: The Republicans wag the fox.

Posted Dec. 17: Rep. Lindsey Graham turns indecision into high art.

Posted Dec. 10: All the Flytrap arguments, numbered for your convenience.

Posted Dec. 9: One journalist swoons for Charlie Ruff.

Posted Dec. 8: Professor Wilentz goes to Washington.

Posted Nov. 19: Ken Starr goes on record.

" Linda Tripp's Payoff": Scott Shuger reveals how Linda Tripp got what Monica wanted.

"Assessment"

"The First Bimbo": Walter Shapiro on the greatness of Monica Lewinsky.

"Readme"

Posted Dec. 24: Michael Kinsley says: Let's impeach Bush and Reagan, too.

Posted Nov. 26: Kinsley finds striking similarities between Ken Starr and Bill Clinton.

"Frame Game"

"Monica Saves Bill": How the House prosecutors' star witness outsmarted them.

"Findings of Fact": The pure spin behind the GOP's latest gambit.

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T": The House managers whine about their "needs."

"State of the Conjugal Union": Clinton obscures his adultery by reinventing "family values."

"Harkin's Objection": Why Sen. Tom Harkin killed the "juror" metaphor in Clinton's trial.

"Opening Arguments": Should the Senate call witnesses?

"See You in Court": Why Clinton should force a Senate trial.

"Clinton's Final Escape": Why the GOP will spare his presidency.

"Wag the Doubt": The debate over Clinton's Iraq attack blazes new frontiers in cynicism.

"The 'Coup' Bomb": William Saletan says Democrats could blow up the impeachment process by crying "coup."

"Strange Bedfellow"

"A Senate Bestiary": The taxonomy of the Senate.

"The Rise of the Front Man": David Plotz on Dennis Hastert.

"Chatterbox"

Political scuttlebutt, prepared for you by Walter Shapiro and Tim Noah.

Posted Dec. 22: The tortuous impeachment logic of a moderate Republican; "William Jefferson Clinton."

Posted Dec. 19: The Hustler, unlisted; CBS punts the vote; Livingston's second shocker.

Posted Dec. 18: Livingston's first shocker.

Posted Dec. 17: New York Times editorial nuttism.

Posted Dec. 16: The GOP's Wag the Dog fantasies.

Posted Dec. 15: The intelligentsia at the barricades.

Posted Dec. 14: Lying is perjury; Chatterbox in error!

Posted Dec. 13: Press pool nettles Netanyahu. Blame Bill Clinton.

Posted Dec. 11: The House gets on TV, the WaPo gets it done.

Posted Dec. 9: Do-it-yourself censure.

Posted Dec. 8: Considerate lover? Maybe. Liar? Definitely.

Posted Dec. 5: How might Clinton pay a fine?

Also posted Dec. 5 (scroll down): The hermeneutics of sexual touching.

Posted Dec. 4: The Senate's inspiration is Alice in Wonderland?

Posted Dec. 2: More Flytrap in verse.

Posted Dec 1: Flytrap in verse.

"Explainer"

Answers to your Flytrap questions.

Posted Dec. 18: Clinton's perjury defense. Why not bomb on Ramadan?

Posted Dec. 10: Can a lame-duck House impeach the president?

Posted Dec. 7: Will Flytrap ruin Hillary's bid for "Person of the Year"?

Slate rounds up reactions from around the globe.

Herbert Stein says Clinton is unfit to serve.

The opinion mafia holds forth on the president's predicament.

MONICA! a Flytrap musical, by Jamie Malanowski.

Click here for Slate's summer coverage of Flytrap.

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Dec. 18 2014 4:49 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 17 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a middle school principal about his workday.