The vote itself was anticlimactic, Women Toms Classic coming three weeks after the close of my defense. Only the margin of defeat was in doubt. I was just glad the ordeal was over for my family and my country. After the vote I said that I was profoundly sorry for what I had done to trigger the events and the great burden they imposed on the American people, and that I was rededicating myself to a time of reconciliation and renewal for America. I took one question: In your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget? I replied, I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.
After the impeachment ordeal, people often asked me how I got through it without losing my mind, or at least the ability to keep doing the job. I couldnt have done it if the White House staff and cabinet, including those who were angry and disappointed over my conduct, hadnt stayed with me. It would have been much harder if the American people hadnt made an early judgment that I should remain President and stuck with it. If more congressional Democrats had bailed out when it looked like the safe thing to do in January, after the story broke, or in August, after I testified to the grand jury, it would have been tough; instead, they rose to the challenge. Having the support of world leaders like Mandela, Blair, King Hussein, Havel, Crown Prince Abdullah, Kim Dae Jung, Chirac, Cardoso, Zedillo, and others whom I admired helped to keep my spirits up. When I compared them with my enemies, as disgusted as I still was with myself, I figured I couldnt be all bad.