Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Clinton Agenda Slowed by Juggernaut in D.C

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Clinton Agenda Slowed by Juggernaut in D.C

Article excerpt

The day-to-day revelations of possible past campaign fund-raising irregularities at the White House are impairing President Clinton's ability to communicate through the press - and may threaten some of his agenda on Capitol Hill.

Though the story seems to be generating little interest or concern outside the beltway - one local talk-radio host here says callers are crying "enough already" - the obsession with the scandal in Washington is sapping some of the momentum Mr. Clinton built up after the inauguration and State of the Union address.

"There are some legitimate questions here, but there is a feeding frenzy," says Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, recently named co-chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Mr. Romer admits "the problem has been brought about in part by a lack of candidness, but, yeah, this is a feeding frenzy" too. Certainly, the revelations have produced no lack of interest in official Washington. In just the past two weeks, The Washington Post has printed nearly 70 articles on the issue. Toney diners buzz over breaking developments. Sunday morning news programs look for meaning after each revelation. More than a dozen of the 15 questions put to Clinton at his Friday press conference centered on the elaborate details of the Democrats' fund-raising practices and the use of the White House to that end. "The obsession level with the story here in Washington is around Defcon 3 ... pretty high," says White House spokeswoman Mary Ellen Glynn. Only when Clinton travels outside Washington, as he did to Michigan last week, is he able to punch his message through the veil of fund-raising coverage. "In Michigan, reporters were asking about other issues," says Ms. Glynn. "He is better able to get his message across outside the beltway." Clinton's own accounting The president gave his most detailed account to date Friday on the range of issues involving the propriety of using the White House for coffees, opening the Lincoln bedroom to contributors, and the DNC's acceptance of contributions from questionable donors. Clinton implied that mistakes had been made and lapses in judgment had occurred, and that the policies which created those errors had been redefined. …

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