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Determined not to be outmaneuvered by the White House on one of their core issues, Republicans on Sunday condemned President Clinton's welfare reform proposals as misguided and riddled with loopholes.

"Your welfare reform proposal does little to encourage families to support themselves, it encourages continued welfare instead of work and it perpetuates the misguided practice of providing welfare to non-citizens," House GOP leaders wrote in a letter to Clinton.The letter came a day after Clinton, in his weekly radio address, deflected Republican criticisms of his welfare stand by endorsing a welfare-to-work program initiated by Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

Clinton, who has vetoed two Republican welfare overhaul plans, told Congress he would sign any bill that was modeled on the Wisconsin plan, which requires every adult on welfare to get a job, if necessary in community service jobs.

Republicans accused Clinton of a cynical ploy to steal the thunder from Sen. Bob Dole, his presumed opponent this fall, who is to address the welfare issue in Wisconsin on Tuesday. Newsweek mag-a-zine reports in its upcoming issue that Dole is expected to propose mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on CBS's "Face the Nation," that Clinton's tactics were "shameless." The American people "expect the president to be a person of principle, and his whole campaign is based on the belief somehow that the American people are suckers and will suffer from some kind of amnesia."

Dole, in an evening session with reporters aboard his plane Saturday, said, "We go to the states, like we go up to Wisconsin, to talk about welfare and then Clinton announces he may give Wisconsin a waiver. If we go to enough states we may straighten out the country."