Former Top Clinton Aid
Describes Clinton As
"Exasperatingly Stupid"
By Casey Combs
AP Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Former White House spokesman Mike McCurry drew cheers and applause Monday when he described President Clinton as a ``richly qualified leader'' who was ``exasperatingly stupid'' in his personal life.
McCurry, in his first public lecture since leaving the White House Oct. 1, spoke frankly about his three years as Clinton's spokesman before an audience of about 200 at the University of Pittsburgh.
When one man asked how McCurry felt about leaving the White House after three years, McCurry jumped in the air, spread his arms wide and shouted ``Free at last!''
McCurry had nothing but praise for Clinton's performance as president, citing his economic and peacemaking accomplishments.
``He is an enormously gifted and richly qualified leader for our nation but someone who is exasperatingly stupid in his personal life,'' McCurry said.
History will never forget the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he said.
``I think there will be an asterisk next to his name in the record books,'' he said. Clinton's presidency ``will always be marred -- stained -- by the episode with Monica Lewinsky.''
He spared no criticism for the White House press corps, saying he was ``literally stunned'' in many press briefings during the Lewinsky scandal when reporters failed to ask a single question about other issues.
But McCurry admitted he was duped by Clinton's initial public claim that he didn't have an affair with Lewinsky.
``I was aware of the potential for deception, but I just didn't want to believe he had the capacity to deceive,'' McCurry said.