The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 28, 1998 - 9
Continued from Page 1
economy was likely to produce budget
surpluses by next year, Clinton notified
C.on ' ss that he is not ready to consid-
er tax cuts or unfunded spending pro-
."What should we do with this pro-
teted surplus?" Clinton asked. "I have
a simple four-word answer: Save Social
While Clinton's rhetoric had a tri-
umphant tone, there were ample signs
that it was an imperiled president
addressing the nation. The televised
commentary both before and after the
speech focused almost entirely on how
the speech would be seen by the public
in light of the Monica Lewinsky con-
troversy. Afterward, even some
Republican critics said he had probably
helped himself, but warned that any
ost would probably be temporary.
Delivering the Republican response,
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-
Miss.) predicted that the battle over tax
cuts and the intrusiveness of govern-
ment would dominate the 1998 agenda,
an election year in which partisan con-
trol of the House is expected to be
.''ig government or families?" Lott
asked. "More taxes or more freedom?"
Nearly all of Clinton's 1998 agenda
.ad been rolled out in the days and
weeks prior to the speech, either in
presidential appearances or in news
media leaks. Even so, it was Clinton's
first chance to explain it to a national
The budget he will release next week,
he promised, will include more money
to help local schools hire teachers and
reduce early-grade class sizes, as well
Sato modernize and build new facili-
s. There are increased tax-credits to
help for lower and middle-income par-
ents with child-care expenses.
Clinton also appealed for an increase
in the minimum wage, though he did
not endorse a precise amount by which
the current $5.15 per hour wage should
be raised. "Because these times are
GOP debates Clinton's
plans for budget surplus
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Professing his
commitment to "family, faith and free-
dom," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
(R-Miss.) said last night that the project-
ed budget surplus should go toward the
national debt or back to taxpayers - not
spent on new social programs or, as
President Clinton proposed, saved to
strengthen the Social Security system.
In the Republican Party's official
response to Clinton's State of the Union
address, Lott called for an overhaul of
the tax code and the elimination of the
Internal Revenue Service, signaling the
GOP's plan to focus on this popular
issue in an election year.
"The choice is really clear: big gov-
ernment or families? More taxes or
more freedom?" Lott asked, painting
stark dichotomies between the GOP
and its Democratic foes.
Following party leaders' dictum to
ignore the allegations of sex and lies
swirling around the White House, many
Republican members of Congress
received the president warmly, joining
Democrats for several standing ovations.
In interviews afterward, several lawmak-
ers continued their head-nodding.
"This speech amounts to an anticipa-
tory endorsement of the (Republican)
congressional agenda, said Rep.
Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) who ranks
fifth in the GOP House leadership.
"Frankly, the speech was written at such
a high level of abstraction, it is difficult
to disagree with 80 percent."
Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said
he was "thrilled" to hear Clinton's
"bold" proposals for Social Security,
but disagreed with the president's
emphasis on teen-age tobacco addiction
rather than drugs.
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) praised
the president for backing tougher clean-
water laws and adding 1,000 new
Border Patrol agents.
Pwreident Clilntonnake iwn frontiof the 105lth (Conress lat niglht during 1hi ~s a e cl2I j
of the Union address.
good, we can afford to take one simple,
sensible step to help millions of work-
ers struggling to provide for their fami-
lies," the president said.
In contrast to a generally sunny
assessment of the nation's domestic
health, Clinton had dire words about
two overseas crises: in Iraq, where
administration officials have warned
that a military strike could come within
two weeks; and in Pacific Rim nations
suffering steep downward slides in their
Clinton said Iraq must stop thwarting
U.N. inspectors searching for biological,
chemical and nuclear weapons pro-
grams, at one point addressing Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein directly:
"You cannot defy the will of the world.
You have used weapons of mass destruc-
tion before. We are determined to deny
you the capacity to use them again."
assesses scandal's impact
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON -- President
Clinton used his State of the Union
speech yesterday to shine the bright glare
of national publicity on Social Security,
making it clear he wants a conversation
and debate among Americans about the
future of the retirement program.
Beyond his high-profile proposal to
set aside the newly emerging federal
budget surplus to help pay the baby
boom generation's Social Security bene-
fits, Clinton and Vice President Al Gore
are likely to attend town hall meetings
this summer organized at the prompting
of the White House to get people talking
about the program's financial problems.
Clinton has invited the Concord
Coaltion, which endorses restrictions on
Social Security spending, and the
American Association of Retired
Persons, a staunch defender of the current
system, to be co-sponsors of the events.
The administration wants a blizzard of
publicity throughout the year, leading to
a White House conference on Social
Security in the winter, and culminating
in a meeting between Clinton and con-
gressional leaders in January 1999, to
craft a bipartisan bill to assure Social
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Seeking to shake off a scandal,
President Clinton yesterday stuck to major issues such as
Social Security, the minimum wage and education while
slivering his State of the Union address to Congress.
WBut members of the Michigan delegation had mixed opin-
ions about whether he can turn the federal government back
toward business as usual.
L. nIming over the speech were accusations that the presi-
dent .had an affair with a White House intern and then tried to
cover it up by telling her to lie about it.
"People in the chamber, and I know people across America,
had that in their mind as they were listening to the speech, and
it is making it more difficult for him to communicate with the
country right now," said U.S. Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor).
Z'Will these things be a distraction in the future? I suspect
until there is some resolve to them," said Rep. David
'Bonior (D-Mount Clemens) and the second highest-ranking
Democrat in the House.
"But he (the president) has laid down a firm, positive agenda
for the country and it's up to Congress to meet his expectations
and I'm going to do all I can to push these issues," Bonior said.
U.S. Rep. Nick Smith (R-Addison) said the allegations
we:."disrupting the effectiveness of the White House to
wok"with Congress to come up with some of the solutions to
Some senior Democrats, in support of the president, asked
tAmerican public to wait until more information was avail-
CoTtinued from Page 1
Republicans managed to voice
their opinions about allegations that
the president had a sexual relation-
shfp with former White House
'*fen Monica Lewinski and then 4
told her to lie about the affair.
"I had expected that Clinton wouldh
want to spend more money on the:
intern program since it has benefited y.
him so much," LSA first-year student
Chad Vance shouted sarcastically dur- ~
ing the discussion.
The predominantly democratic
crowd responded by defending Clinton
ad ,his achievements throughout his
"He's done a good job overall
said Engineering first-year student
Eric Nyman. "The country is}
stronger than it has ever been
because of him."
Potts said recent media coverage
of the alleged Clinton scandal is
unfortunate because it takes the
president's attention away from
more important issues, like policy
ed leadership. -
"Politics aside, I think we need to"
look at the role of the presidency
and see how this is weighing down
his role in leading the country,"
Potts said. "This is not a partisan
"So far we've had the clear and unambiguous statement
from the president that nothing occurred," said U.S. Rep.
John Dingell of Dearborn, the longest continuously serving
Democrat in the House.
"Until I have somebody responsible who will come for-
ward and say something else, I intend to continue believing
the president," he said.
Bonior agreed. "The president has strongly denied these
allegations. I think the charges are serious, but it's important
not to get distracted by this and just focus on the issues that
he talked about," he said.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the president demonstrated
an ability to concentrate on the nation's business despite con-
"I think he showed just how focused he can stay on issues
like education, the deficit and health care and those are issues
people want us to focus on, he said.
Lawmakers from both parties were cautious in responding
to the allegations out of respect for the presidency.
"As a scientist, I always deal in facts," said U.S. Rep.
Vernon Ehlers (R-Grand Rapids).
"I believe the charges that have been made against the pres-
ident in recent days are both serious and troubling," said Sen.
Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.).
"Out of respect for the presidency," the senator said,
"we have an obligation to wait until we have the facts,
and then we can reach whatever conclusions and judg-
ments are appropriate at that time."
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