EVEN amid the grimmest of events - in this case, the ill-fated federal assault on the Waco cult compound - the daily business of the White House must go on.
On April 19, one of President Clinton's first tasks in the morning was to host the traditional White House reception in honor of a championship athletic team. So at 9:58 a.m., the president convened a Rose Garden ceremony in honor of the University of Maine Black Bears, who recently won the NCAA Division I hockey championship. The event produced more than a few chuckles - and a pointed reference to the president's so-far futile attempts to break the Republican filibuster in the Senate against his economi c-stimulus plan.
"You know, in my state football is a slightly more popular sport than hockey. We don't have a lot of ice," the president said to laughter from the audience. "But after spending three months getting banged around in this town, I can understand a little more about hockey than I did before I came here. Hockey is a tough game. It's a hard-hitting sport. It does have one virtue though - there's a penalty for delay of game. I wish we had that rule in the Senate."
At the end of the ceremony, the president was presented with a team jersey and an autographed hockey stick. No doubt the chief executive hopes some of the Black Bears' success will rub off on him. In search of a compromise
Republicans so far seem to be sticking together to block the $16.3 billion economic stimulus plan. But the GOP is also trying to work out a deal with the White House and Senate Democrats to end the filibuster.
Clinton already has offered to pare $4 billion from the package he says is needed to give the economic recovery an extra boost. But Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, one of the moderate GOP senators singled out by Clinton for wooing, held a news conference this weekend to denounce the compromise plan. "I'm not about to support an emergency appropriations bill when there is no emergency," Senator Specter said, adding he hoped a compromise could be worked out.
Sen. Mark Hatfield of Oregon, another moderate Republican who may be a swing vote, is working on a compromise of his own that could include $4 billion in unemployment aid and other programs, Reuters reported. Details had not been worked out, Senate aides told the news agency.
To give Republicans more time to fashion a compromise proposal, Senate Democrats agreed to delay a vote on ending the filibuster one day until April 21. If an agreement isn't worked out by then, everything in the package - except the unemployment benefits - is likely to die. Pentagon to release Tailhook report
The Pentagon's final report on the Tailhook sexual harassment scandal recommends that at least 140 people be considered for possible disciplinary action, officials have told the Associated Press.
The study of the 1991 incident conducted by Pentagon deputy inspector general Derek Vander Schaaf is expected to be released April 23, Pentagon officials said. The independent inspector general's office took over after top officials judged the Navy's initial investigation to have been faulty.
Dozens of women, more than half of them naval officers, say they were pawed and otherwise abused by drunken Navy and Marine Corps fliers at the three-day Tailhook Association convention of aviators in Las Vegas.
One section of the report is to be released to the public, while a second section will remain private and be handed over to Navy and Marine legal officers. One thousand copies have been printed, officials said.
The public section of the report offers a detailed description of the events at the convention, while the private section deals with the inspector general's investigations into individual cases, which number between 140 and 150, the officials said.
The cases will be handed to two high-ranking officers, one in the Navy and another in the Marine Corps. The two officers will recommend what - if any - disciplinary steps should be imposed. The strictest action they can recommend is a court-martial.