Associated Retired Aviation Professionals
Post Office Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624 USA

Newsday - THE EXPLOSION ON FLIGHT 800 / Local Student: 7-19-1996
             Clinton "VisiblyShaken" 

                    By Mohamad Bazzi. STAFF WRITER 

                        Queens College student Alan Van Capelle was looking forward to 
                    meeting President Bill Clinton yesterday, but little did he know that in 
                    the wake of the TWA plane crash, he would see the president expressing 
                    unguarded emotions. 
                        "He was very sullen. It looked like he had tears in his eyes," Van 
                    Capelle said in a phone interview after the meeting. "He was visibly 
                    shaken up by what had happened." 
                        Van Capelle, 21, of Commack, was one of 10 people who met with 
                    Clinton at the White House yesterday morning. It was one of a series of 
                    "coffee chats" organized by Clinton's campaign committee. 
                        The meeting took place between 9 and 11 a.m., before Clinton held 
                    his first press conference about the plane crash. As a result, Van 
                    Capelle saw a rare side of the president - his raw emotional response to 
                    a tragedy. 
                        As soon as he arrived at the White House at 8 a.m. for security 
                    clearances, Van Capelle said he felt a sense of urgency. The group was 
                    led by campaign staffers to the dining room in the president's private 
                    residence, where they waited for about 15 minutes for Clinton to arrive. 
                        "He walked into the room, and we all stood up," Van Capelle said. 
                    "He then shook hands and took pictures with everyone." 
                        As they were sitting down, Van Capelle said, someone in the group 
                    told Clinton: "What a way to start the day." The president responded 
                    curtly: "It's all part of the job." 
                        Clinton began the meeting by asking the visitors to keep the 
                    families of the crash victims in their prayers. He then gave an update 
                    on the status of the crash, saying that there were preliminary 
                    indications of an explosive device, according to Van Capelle. 
                        After about 10 minutes, the discussion shifted to other topics such 
                    as education, social spending and anti-crime legislation. The meeting, 
                    which was attended by some of Clinton's campaign staff, also focused on 
                    his re-election effort. "He didn't harp on the crash. He just looked 
                    shaken," Van Capelle said. White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta 
                    interrupted the meeting to give Clinton some briefing papers on the 
                    crash, according to Van Capelle. 
                        "As the meeting went on, he felt more comfortable," Van Capelle 
                    said. "But you could tell that he had other things on his mind." 

                    Copyright 1996, Newsday Inc. 

                    Mohamad Bazzi, THE EXPLOSION ON FLIGHT 800 / Local Student: Clinton `VisiblyShaken', 
                    07-19-1996, pp 11. 

Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2000 William S. Donaldson III.  All rights reserved