No wonder Gary Condit's lawyers kept their client from doing television interviews for so long.
That was the greatest favor they could have done for him as evidenced by their failure to keep the California congressman off ABC television's "PrimeTime Thursday" and far away from interviewer Connie Chung last night.
The result was not unlike watching a suicide, broadcast live. Chung kept handing rope to Condit but instead of using it to pull himself out of a pit of suspicion, Condit fashioned a noose, slipped it around his own neck, and kept tightening the knot.
The program's most shocking revelation was that, for one who has traveled far in American politics, Rep. Condit is a rank amateur in the art of manufacturing evasive, cover-your-butt answers in front of a media microphone.
Oh, the evasive answers were present and accounted for, all right, but they kept popping up in response to the wrong questions regarding Condit's alleged missing mistress, 24-year-old intern Chandra Levy. Or they would pop up repeatedly in an identical, overly-rehearsed form.
Ever been to a high school play where hopelessly lost actors, awash in flop sweat, kept repeating the same lines over and over? That was the tone of Condit's sad and sorry performance.
"May I ask you, was it a sexual relationship?," Chung asked (even though Condit has already been forced to contradict his previous denials and admit that, yes, it was a sexual relationship).
"Well, Connie, I've been married for 34 years, and I've not been a perfect man, and I've made my share of mistakes ... "
Later, Chung reiterated the question.
"I have been married 34 years," Condit answered. "I have not been a perfect man. I've made mistakes in my life.
Later, Chung repeated the question.
"I've been married 34 years," was Condit's Pavlovian response. "I've made some mistakes in my life. I'm not a perfect man."
He's absolutely right. A perfect man would not go on national television and beg for more rope.