After a Big Arkansas Win, Clinton Goes Back to Work

PRESIDENT Clinton cheered his Arkansas Razorbacks to a semifinal win in the NCAA basketball tournament on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. He will return tonight for the national championship game.

The ``First Fan'' bounced up and down with every Arkansas basket as the Razorbacks built momentum on their way to a 91-82 triumph. ``I was very worried,'' the president told reporters.

Mr. Clinton returned to Washington that evening. After an Easter break, he is off again today. Most of this week will be aimed at health-care reform. Cabinet members and Mrs. Clinton will also be on the road. The president's schedule includes events in North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, and Minnesota. He will go to Kentucky for the funeral of Rep. William Natcher (D).

Conspicuously missing from Clinton's nine-day vacation was Whitewater. After questions last weekend about aide George Stephanopoulos's status and a few ``Impeach Clinton'' signs in California, it was a non-issue.

Last week, a Los Angeles Times poll showed Clinton's approval rating in California at 58 percent - the highest ever there.

Bennett for president?

DISSATISFIED with the early GOP lineup, some conservatives are pushing William Bennett to run for president in 1996 and promising to help turn his bestseller, ``The Book of Virtues,'' into a fund-raising tool.

The former drug-policy czar and education secretary has resisted calls to enter the race, saying he wants time with his family and to make some money after a career in academia and government. But on Friday, he said: ``I'm not planning any trips to Iowa or anything, but I'm going to think about it over the summer.''

He had told allies he was reluctant to run because of the near-certain candidacy of Jack Kemp, a co-founder with him of Empower America, a think tank. But it is unhappiness with Mr. Kemp that drove conservatives to lobby Mr. Bennett. They say Kemp has reneged on promises to spend more time talking about family values and his opposition to abortion.

Those leading the effort include Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition, and James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family; they also control extensive fund-raising lists and are skilled at amassing money.

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