The White House's handling of sex and perjury allegations involving the president are "demeaning to America," House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said in some of his most extensive comments on the subject.

"I think frankly, all the White House has done is drag it out and made it more painful and made themselves look more demeaned by the way in which they have adopted a defense lawyer, O.J. Simpson style," he said in an interview that aired Saturday on CNBC's "Tim Russert.""This president looked in the camera and said, `I did not do it.' The country is giving him the benefit of the doubt, which is exactly right. Under our system you are innocent until proven guilty. But I also believe this is a country in which, as Lincoln said, `There is a level of retribution that is amazing.' "

He said he wished the sexual aspects of the story would not be discussed on television.

"I wish we lived in a society where you could take everything related to the sex part, and stipulate on the evening news - `Inappropriate things have been dis-cus-sed,' let's not get into any of the details because there is something, I think, horrifyingly decadent about the level of detail we've gone through. The other question, which is the rule of law, is primary and at the core of the United States. We have no choice but to enforce the rule of law."