Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) resigned his House seat today after acknowledging he had an affair with a female staffer earlier this week. Long an advocate for "family values," Souder called for former President Bill Clinton to resign over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. On Sept. 17, 1998, during the Clinton impeachment scandal, Democracy Now! invited Rep. Souder and Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) to discuss by phone a recent House vote on combating drugs. In the spirit of the times, Amy Goodman asked both men if they have ever had extramarital affairs. McCollum said, "I am — I am not, and I’m not, at this present time, involved in anything whatsoever, have not been." When Souder was asked, he hung up the phone. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Republican Congress member Mark Souder of Indiana is expected to formally step down today after acknowledging he had an affair with a female staffer. Souder, who came in with the Republican Revolution of 1994, has long campaigned on a platform of family values. Earlier this week, Souder announced his resignation in a tearful news conference, admitting he had an extramarital affair with a staffer. Last year, he appeared along with the staffer in a campaign video promoting abstinence.
Well, in 1998, I invited both Congress members Mark Souder and Bill McCollum on Democracy Now!. Both were calling on President Clinton to resign over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. McCollum is now running for governor in Florida. In the spirit of the times, I asked both men if they ever had extramarital affairs.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, can I ask you, Congress member McCollum, in the spirit of peep-hole politics that we all seem to be engaged in right now, are you now, or have you ever been, involved in an extramarital sexual affair?
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: No, ma’am. I am — I am not, and I’m not, at this present time, involved in anything whatsoever, have not been, and I’m not going to get involved in that kind of discussion. You know, I think this is really crazy what they did with Henry Hyde yesterday. I think that’s very unfortunate.
AMY GOODMAN: Revealing that he had had a sexual affair.
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: Yes, ma’am.
AMY GOODMAN: But isn’t this what we have come to?
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: Well —
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, doesn’t this seem to be the question now that everyone will ask every person who gets involved with public life, is start off with this question?
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: Unfortunately, that’s true, but that’s not what this issue’s about. The issue in the case of President Clinton is not about sex; it’s not about a sexual affair. It’s about lying under oath in a court proceeding.
AMY GOODMAN: Congress member McCollum, we’re also joined by Republican Congress member Mark Souder of Indiana. And while we do want to go back to the issue of the Drug Act that was passed yesterday, let me ask you if you think that that’s a fair question now to ask each public official, is to start off by saying, are you now, or have you ever been, involved in an extramarital sexual affair?
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: Are you asking me that, or are you asking Souder that?
AMY GOODMAN: I’m asking Congress member Souder that. Congress member Souder?
REP. MARK SOUDER: [silence]
AMY GOODMAN: Are you there?
REP. MARK SOUDER: [silence]
AMY GOODMAN: I think he’s just dropped off the line.
REP. BILL McCOLLUM: Well, and I’m going to have to drop off the line. Unfortunately, I have to go and be in a committee hearing which deals with the very subject of the matter of the presidency that we’re talking about. So, I’ve enjoyed being with you, but I’ve got to go do that.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Congress member McCollum. And before that, that was not Congress member Souder. He was on the line, but he dropped off when I asked him if he was having or had ever had an extramarital affair. Well, today it looks like Congress member Souder is formally resigning for having an extramarital affair.