Governor Clinton Hints at Running

ONE of the young potential stars of the Democratic bench, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, is edging closer to entering the race for the presidential nomination.At a Monitor breakfast here yesterday, he told reporters he would decide by the end of the month. He admitted the obstacles: m virtually anonymous. I come from a small state, and the race is starting late." He also acknowledges that, although Americans are dissatisfied with their economy, health care system, and education system, there is no outcry against President Bush. "They think the country's going in the wrong direction," he said, "but they're not sure the president can or should do anything about it. "One of the things Reagan and Bush have done is disabled the American presidency" on domestic concerns. He adds: "That's why I've been urging Democrats not to begin this campaign with an orgy of Bush bashing." Instead, the Democratic nominee needs to concentrate on setting out his own vision. Clinton's vision is neither clearly liberal nor conservative. On taxes: He would not change the overall tax burden, but would shift some of it away from middle-class families onto wealthier household. He favors the right to abortion. He signed a bill in Arkansas requiring parental notification when a minor receives an abortion, but he believes that requiring parental consent goes too far. He does not support racial quotas in hiring and banished so-called race-norming - automatically raising the scores of minority test takers - in state hiring. But he also banished the test itself, believing it to be biased. "I think it should be a major objective of the Democratic nominee for president to unite middle-class working people across racial lines." Americans, he said, are paying too much for health care, for interest on the national debt, and for the savings-and-loan bailout. "I would reorient the budget so you could see how much we're spending on the past, the present and the future," he said. With Tennessee Sen. Al Gore out of the presidential race and no sign of activity from Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt, Mr. Clinton aspires to carry the mantle of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

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