From the Archives: President Bill Clinton Testifies in Monica Lewinsky Case

On Aug. 18, 1998, ABC News' Sam Donaldson reports on the First Family's reaction to the Monica Lewinsky affair.
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Transcript for From the Archives: President Bill Clinton Testifies in Monica Lewinsky Case
The day after president Clinton's unprecedented speech to the nation has been a bumpy want. New polls indicate a growing number of Americans are willing to accept mr. Clinton's statement about Monica Lewinsky. And a considerable majority want the independent counsel's investigation over. But the president is getting rougher treatment in congress including a few calls for his resignation. Through it all the Clinton family left this afternoon for vacation on Martha's Vineyard not likely to be a pleasant one ABC's Sam Donaldson. He's at the White House them it it felt like that for the day in which reality begin this again. Tried forest the undercurrent of strain here at the White House today is impossible to miss the president that placed about a dozen calls to members of congress asking for their support. And the First Lady issued her first public reaction to the events of the past forty dollars. Her spokeswoman said her love for her husband is compassionate and steadfast. Does she forgive him. Yes center spokeswoman she believes in this marriage but clearly this is not the best day in mrs. Clinton's life. And indeed when the Clinton family left the White House this afternoon weather delayed Martha's Vineyard vacation she never looked up. He was tightlipped and and smiling as they walk with a daughter Chelsea between them. At Andrews Air Force Base has the clintons boarded Air Force One observers wins that the body language as she brushed past him in the doorway. But then none of the president's problems appears to have been ended by his speech last night as he hoped they would be. As speech crafted only after an internal struggle which was won by the hardliners. On one side with the president's political advisors led by Paul begala and Rahm Emanuel. On the other was the president's lawyer David Kendall and mrs. Clinton did not. Have both sides thought he had to confess that he lied to the country last January. Andy did indeed I did have a relationship with miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact it was wrong. Both sides thought he had to express some remorse and he did. Not misled people. Including. Even my wife. I deeply. Regret that but the political advisors wanted him to go further to actually apologized to the country and asked the country's forgiveness and pledged to be a better president. He did not instead what the hard liners got the narrow legal document they wanted while my answers were legally accurate. I did not volunteer information. And the tone of personal defiance concerning the Clinton's private life it's nobody's business but ours. Above all the hardliners got the attack on independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation the polls said might be popular but the political advisors thought unwise. This is gone on too long. Cost too much. And hurt two men the innocent people. The intense dislike of star was only heightened by yesterday's questioning of the president in the White House map room. Sources say the prosecutors pushed mr. Clinton and mercifully to described graphic details of his moments through Monica Lewinsky. The president refused citing privacy grounds. Understanding that if he were to describe details that fit within the definition of sex used during his Paula Jones deposition last January. He would be admitting perjury. When his testimony was over the president is said to have been extremely angry at star which helps seal the tone of his speech. When the clintons arrived in Martha's Vineyard they were met by Vernon Jordan the lawyer friend to help Lewinsky look for a job and singer Carly Simon among others. All three Clinton shook hands with a friendly crowd of islanders but the president and mrs. Clinton exchanged no public signs of affection. Before driving away to their borrowed estate and a vacation it has begun on such a sour note. Usually after president. Addressed the nation in moments of difficulty they're aides fanned out immediately to declare victory telling reporters Emily favorable phone calls of come in and how they're internal polls have gone sky high but today there was almost none of that today basically there was silence another indication forests as this president knows he's in real drop.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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