Facebook Twitter

CLINTON MEETING CALLED POSITIVE BY GOP LEADERS

SHARE CLINTON MEETING CALLED POSITIVE BY GOP LEADERS

Skirting differences over tax cuts, welfare and health insurance, President Clinton and leaders of the incoming Republican Congress agreed in an Oval Office summit Friday to work together on a batch of less-divisive issues.

Emerging from their first talks with Clinton since the GOP election landslide, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said, "I think the president understands there is a lot of support out there in the country, among Democrats, independents and Republicans, to try to change the way we do business here."And certainly it's in our interest, where possible, to be together," Dole said.

Rep. Newt Gingrich, the incoming House speaker, said, "We agreed as a principle that there would be areas in which we would disagree, but I don't think we actually spent much time on them."

The Republicans said the meeting was positive; Gingrich called it "superb." But it was clear they avoided areas of likely disagreement such as taxes. "We didn't cover everything, we didn't get down to the T's," Dole said.

Health reform? "We didn't try that today, we only had an hour," Dole said. Welfare reform? "Didn't get to the W's. We skipped around a lot."

Gingrich said Clinton agreed to work with Republicans on easing costly requirements imposed on the states by Washington; making Congress abide by the laws that apply to the public sector; and enacting a line-item veto allowing the president to delete some projects from a bill without killing it altogether.

Addressing leaders of the conservative movement later Friday night, Gingrich indicated he will take a more moderate, less confrontational tone in his new job.