By Tom Raum
CLEVELAND _ President Clinton opened a campaign-style push to
refocus attention on his economic package Monday, saying he may
have tried to tackle too many issues at once but would rather
"err on the side of effort."
He delivered a no-apologies defense for moving on so many
fronts, including tax increases he acknowledged go beyond those
he foresaw during last year's campaign.
Clinton suggested his domestic-policy initiatives on the
economy, on health care, on overhauling the college loan system
and on campaign finance and welfare reform are interrelated.
"I think most of you want us to do something and I think you
want us to be bold," Clinton said after plunging into a crowd at
a downtown shopping center. It was the first stop of a trip
designed to regain lost momentum.
Later, he told a luncheon with business leaders: "The costs of
the status quo are very, very high, even if you don't see them on
the ledger sheets. . .I think we can do more than one thing at
Demonstrating a change of strategy from recent speeches,
Clinton also declined to blame Republicans for seeking to block
his programs, charting a more populist course of blaming
lobbyists and other entrenched Washington interests instead.
"The lobbyists are lining the corridors of Washington as never
before. There are 80,000 of them there," he told the City Club of
Cleveland. "And unless all the American people speak out loud and
clear, it's going to be hard for us to hold this program
Clinton also sought to turn the spotlight away from his $16.3
billion jobs stimulus package, defeated in the Senate by a GOP
filibuster. He said it was only a minor part of an economic
program calling for nearly $500 billion in deficitreducing tax
increases and spending cuts over five years.
Clinton took advantage of an apparent lull in the crisis in
Bosnia _ the White House signaled it would not move closer to
military action until after a weekend referendum by Bosnian Serbs
_ to promote his economic package in the Midwest. He was headed
next to Chicago.
The two-day trip was the first installment of a new
administration strategy to get Clinton out of Washington more
often to rally support for his programs.
In an event with all the trappings of a campaign swing,
Clinton shook hundreds of hands as he pressed through Cleveland's
downtown Galleria mall. He bought a T-shirt at a clothing store
and chocolate-covered strawberries at a candy store. …