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Jeeze, Connie Chung asked all the wrong questions.

Gary Condit told us repeatedly on network TV that he’s “been married 34 years.”

The question should have been: “How has your wife put up with you all those years, and more to the point, why hasn’t she walked out after this public humiliation?”

Yes, Gary, you told us again and again that you’re “not perfect.”

The question should have been: “Just what was it that you did concerning Chandra Levy that reflects on your perfection, or rather, lack of it?”

All right already, Gary, we get the point that you’ve “made mistakes.”

The question should have been: “Just exactly what was it about your relationship with Chandra Levy that was a mistake?”

And let’s see, then you added that the reason you were not going to say more was out of “respect for your family. …”

The question should have been: “Why would a supposedly happily married man risk his family by engaging in a ‘very close relationship’ with a young, unmarried female, government intern to the extent that they exchanged phone calls and that she went to his apartment on varied occasions?”

Why wasn’t he asked, “Did you ever have any concern about the appearance of impropriety – that perhaps her visiting your apartment just wouldn’t look right?

Why wasn’t he asked if he “even cared about that?”

Condit also said that he was skirting the issue of that “relationship” with Chandra Levy at “the specific request” of the missing woman’s parents – in other words, Dr. and Mrs. Levy asked him not to specify just what his relationship was with their daughter.

You sounded so cool, Gary, saying you “couldn’t go there.” Awww.

The question should have been: “If you are not going to address the specific issue of the nature of your relationship with Chandra Levy, then why are you here tonight?”

Follow that question with: “Don’t you think it would have been more honest of you to buy time on network TV to state your case rather than take advantage of free air time for your personal goal to influence your constituents?” (It is, however, cheaper not to.)

Come on, Gary. You said several times that you didn’t want to be part of catering to the media and giving press conferences about this story. (Sort of a backhanded slap at Dr. and Mrs. Levy, eh?)

The question should have been: “Isn’t this a form of press conference?” The setting is nicer, and there’s only one media outlet, but you do have the podium and Connie tries so hard to be nice, and tough, and nice, and nice and. … (Did she really think he’d confess to murder?)

Condit was quite clear when he nailed the media by saying it was not their job to find Chandra Levy. He’s right. It’s also not the job of the media to give politicians an invaluable national platform to defend themselves. But if the party is right and the story juicy enough, it can be great for ratings. (The word is pandering.)

Are you getting the drift? Connie Chung did her job Thursday night with enormous pressures on her to make it “good.” But how good was it? She did her best to elicit some kind of candid response from the accomplished politician, but she was not successful. Repeatedly she asked about the “relationship,” clearly looking to have him openly admit that it was sexual, but he sidestepped it with carefully rehearsed and memorized responses. Condit came prepared with the answers to the questions he thought would be asked, and for the most part, he was right. (Those up-town lawyers paid off!)

Quite frankly, it was scripted on both sides. It sounded like it, and looked like it. Connie had the list of questions she wanted to ask and she did. Over and over. Too bad she didn’t do what a sharp reporter does – listen to the responses and go from there.

So Connie was stuck and several times throughout the Q&A; she hemmed and huffed with frustration that he was stonewalling and she didn’t have the right pickax to hammer through it.

Condit remained pretty cool and emotionally removed from the issue. Keep in mind, they were talking about Chandra Levy; a woman he said he “liked very much” and that they were “very close.” Coolness is not something you expect when a person like that just disappears from the face of the earth. Especially, if you know nothing about how or why.

On the one hand, he tells us repeatedly he’s human; on the other hand, he acts like a robot with programmed responses.

He’s also “misunderstood” and “confused” and “puzzled” – by the police and the Levys and the other lawyers and, and, and. … He’s also surrounded by people who lie or at the very least perhaps, make things up: Chandra’s aunt, the flight attendant and maybe even Chandra.

He was quite specific: “He never asked anyone to lie.” And he probably didn’t. But the result can be the same if it’s done in writing from someone else. Condit said the lawyers did it on their own and he knew nothing about it. Isn’t that grounds for disbarment?

I loved it when he said his last phone conversation with Chandra on April 21 was about her graduation, her trip, her disappointment at losing her job and more. He also said the call was a minute long. Oh.

Asked about their last meeting, several times he said “there were no cross words.” If they were just friends and had no “relationship,” then just what might there have been cross words about and why did he have to deny them several times in carefully scripted phrases?

For Pete’s sake. The country was suckered in by silver-tongued lizards in silk suits who used the media the way pimps use women – for their own ends and profit.

If you thought before the “interview” that you’d heard enough about Condit, then by now you must feel as though you are drowning. Or at least, swimming – in muck.

And, by the way, Chandra Levy is still missing.

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