Health Reform and Crime On Clinton's April Agenda

MOST of this month's policy push by the White House will be on health care - witness this week's flurry of town hall and other events, including two health-care pitches in North Carolina.

But President Clinton will also work in some crime politics, timed for the return of Congress and consideration of anticrime legislation in the House of Representatives.

As he has in the past, Mr. Clinton will call on police from around the country for some help. Next week, possibly April 12, a group of police chiefs are to visit the White House for a pep talk from Clinton before they go to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers on a number of crime measures. Poll shows crime is top concern

A MID-March national survey by the Republican polling firm The Wirthlin Group found that crime remains the issue most cited as the country's top problem.

Eighteen percent of respondents placed crime first, followed by health care (14 percent) and unemployment (13 percent).

The poll of 1,036 adults taken March 14-16 found that the percentage of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track jumped from 56 percent in February to 68 percent in March. That barometer may be worth watching as the fall elections approach, because if voters continue to have such a pessimistic view of crime trends, incumbents could take the heat.

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