Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech, and I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.
The nature of the statement was called into question within hours when a skeptical reporter noted to White House press secretary Mike McCurry that the term "sexual relations" can be defined as meaning coitus, and asked whether the President and Lewinsky had been engaging in other forms of sex. McCurry replied, "I think every American that heard him knows exactly what he meant with the question. He didn't leave any ambiguity in it whatsoever. The controversy deepened when Clinton was revealed, in fact, to have had sexual contact with Lewinsky, although the issue remained a semantic one as to whether the words "sexual relations" includes oral sex. This and related disputes would lead to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the settlement and conclusion of the legal case with Paula Jones.
The quote has gone on to be widely cited as a meme in popular culture, as well as in politics. It is sometimes referred to as Clinton's "finger wagging" quote because of the style in which the President delivered the statement, the precise tone and speed of his voice being widely imitated.
I Want to Say One Thing to the American People. I Did Not Have Sexual Relations with That Woman ''; the Accuser Goes to Ground
Jan 27, 1998; Byline: NICK HOPKINS BILL Clinton emerged from four days of silence yesterday to take the biggest gamble of his political life....