As Monday's presidential testimony before the grand jury approaches, Hillary Clinton seems to be doing all she can to defect any bad news. Now she says the entire investigation came about because people are prejudiced against Arkansas.

"They wouldn't do this if we were from some other state," the First Lady said last week, never clarifying who "they" are.Mrs. Clinton, normally bright and articulate, did herself no favors with that defense. It rang with the same kind of hollow sound as her earlier assertions that her husband's critics were part of a vast right-wing conspiracy, a faceless, colorless mob hiding in the shadows.

This may come as a shock to Mrs. Clinton, but the nation is chock full of states that feel they are picked on because they are neither populous nor in the East. The indisputable fact, however, is that the nation elected her husband twice with full knowledge of which state he is from. Also, Ken Starr himself once lived in Arkansas as a Bible salesman. He could hardly be considered to have misperceptions of the place. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was raised in Chicago.

So much for prejudice and misunderstanding. The Clintons would serve the nation best right now by preparing for the president to the tell the truth to the grand jury, whatever that truth may be.

Evidence, particularly if it comes from DNA tests, can't be credibly explained away by fate, perceived prejudices or grand conspiracies. Starr has spent four years unraveling allegations of wrongdoing stemming back to the Whitewater real estate deal. He has amassed vast amounts of data, testimony and facts.

President Clinton needs to tell the truth on Monday. Anything less than that truly would be doing a disservice to his home state of Arkansas, as well as the rest of the nation.