WASHINGTON, DC—In a tearful address to the American people Monday, President Clinton announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of office to recover from his recent molestation at the hands of his visiting uncle Carl.
"My fellow Americans," the president said during the nationally televised speech, "two weeks ago, my uncle Carl came to visit me and take a tour of the White House. And at one point during that tour, while we were alone in the Lincoln Bedroom, Uncle Carl did something to me that he said should be our little secret."
Clinton said Uncle Carl "touched me in ways I knew were wrong," and that Carl instructed him "not to tell anyone, especially not Hillary or the Secret Service," saying that it was a special thing between presidents and their uncles, something no one would understand."
The Secret Service has been working closely with Clinton, using a special anatomically correct doll to determine exactly what transpired between him and Uncle Carl.
"At this point, it very much appears that there was fondling of the presidential genitalia," Secret Service agent Frank Simms said. "We are still having difficulty getting Mr. Clinton to talk about certain details, which often happens when a member of the executive branch is molested by an uncle. The breach of trust is very difficult for any president to confront."
White House doctors have not yet released results of tests for anal trauma or semen in Clinton's rectum.
Uncle Carl, who was arrested by FBI agents at his Falls Church, VA, home early Tuesday morning, has refused to speak to the press. He did, however, issue a statement through legal counsel saying, in part, that "this is just the kind of attention-getting lie I thought Billy had outgrown."
"An accusatory stance is a typical response for the sexual predator," said Attorney General Janet Reno, who urged the nation to stand by Clinton in this "extremely difficult" time. "We must be very gentle with the president for as long as it takes him to come to terms with this. He's got to know it isn't his fault."
In the wake of the revelation, numerous White House staffers have expressed responsibility for the incident.
"I failed him," said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who greeted Uncle Carl upon his arrival at the White House on Aug. 22. "I never should have left Bill alone with that man, no matter how big a boy he said he was."
"I just hope Bill doesn't hate me," said White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. "I don't know why he didn't come and tell me about it in the first place. This is exactly the kind of thing I'm supposed to protect him from."
In a closed-door meeting Tuesday, a group of top-level Clinton advisors told the president that he should never be afraid to tell a person to stop doing something he doesn't like, no matter who that person is. The advisors also told Clinton that he should always run and tell a Cabinet member if someone is touching, threatening or scaring him.
Though Clinton's revelation of sexual abuse came as a shock, it did help explain his unusual behavior of late. In recent weeks, the president has drawn criticism for picking at his food, not paying attention during Pentagon debriefings, and crying or screaming for no apparent reason. He has also refused to be alone with other males at any time, even those he trusts, such as Vice-President Al Gore and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. In addition, the president has been observed drawing what Secretary of Education Richard Riley described as "extremely disturbing pictures, using darker crayons to depict adults as grotesque, looming monsters and himself as a huddled, crying shape."
Considering the terrible ordeal he has been through, Clinton seems to be recovering as well as can be expected, Bowles said.
"Uncle Carl's abuse of the president's trust was as hurtful as the actual physical abuse," Bowles said. "We try to shelter our elected officials from this sort of thing and tell them there are no monsters out there, but when it happens, it's very hard for them to take. Mr. Clinton feels a great deal of confusion and resentment right now. It's going to be hard, but we must see that he gets beyond it."
According to White House psychologist Dr. Linda Kushner-Ross, Clinton's refusal to cancel his appearance at this week's Asian Pacific Economic Conference is a good sign.
"The sooner Bill gets back to his normal routine, the better," Kushner-Ross said. "Often, presidents who are molested by a trusted acquaintance withdraw into themselves and let their feelings of anger consume them. That's what happened to Richard Nixon after he was touched by Attorney General John Mitchell. I don't think that's going to happen with Bill. He's surrounded by too many friends and staffers who love him."