As Obama takes power, Clinton impeachment still splits Washington

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It came to John Podesta during a jog through Rock Creek Park over the Thanksgiving weekend. His boss was going to be impeached and there was no way around it. It took Rahm Emanuel a little longer to reach that conclusion. And it fell to Gregory Craig to pick up the pieces once it happened.

Ten years ago this week, Bill Clinton became the first elected U.S. president ever impeached by the House of Representatives, the culmination of a sex-and-lies scandal that consumed the United States and fractured its political system. Although he was eventually acquitted by the Senate, the scars run deep even as veterans of that showdown return to power under a new president promising to repair a breach that still divides Washington.

As key members of Clinton's defense a decade ago, Podesta, his chief of staff; Emanuel, his senior adviser; and Craig, his special counsel, bring the lessons of that searing moment to the table as they now serve in President-elect Barack Obama's inner circle.

They learned the imperatives of moving quickly, closing ranks, controlling information and never conceding an inch when the president faces a threat, strategies employed with varying degrees of effectiveness back then.

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