Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gathering Closes with Strong Call for Bipartisanship

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gathering Closes with Strong Call for Bipartisanship

Article excerpt

Associated Press

TULSA _ The National Governors' Association summer meeting wrapped up Tuesday with a renewed sense of bipartisanship, getting a boost from Sen. Bob Dole's response to the President Clinton's health care outline.

The four-day meeting, which drew 43 governors, zeroed in on health care from start to finish, punctuated when Clinton raised the curtain on his plans to overhaul the health care system.

Through it all, a call rang out for bipartisanship.

"Some important things have happened at this NGA meeting, not all on the substantial side," said Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat who was named vice chairman Tuesday.

"We did a great deal to restore what's necessary to pass this major legislation, particularly health care, to restore the bipartisanship needed to do that," he said.

Dole, the Senate minority leader from Kansas, said he shared Clinton's goal of universal health care coverage and he left open the possibility of supporting employer mandates as long as businesses were not hurt.

"I remain hopeful that we will be able to overcome our differences in approach," Dole said.

Clinton is expected to unveil details of his plan _ how it will be paid for _ next month to Congress.

Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, who took over as association chairman, expects agreement on broad components of the health care proposal, such as insurance reform.

"By the same token, it's important to recognize that there are different viewpoints," he said. "We have to hear them all and find the best way to go."

Dean said bipartisanship developed because governors face similar problems and share the same problems working with the federal government.

"Much more binds us together as chief executives than pulls us apart," he said.

Campbell offered two specifics: A working lunch with Clinton on Monday in which he said the president was willing to listen. Dole's "willingness to hold out an olive branch" on health care reform.

"The attitude in both those instances had a great deal of affect on most governors," Campbell said.

Campbell's agenda as chairman is called "Partnerships for Progress," with studies on health care, education and welfare reform.

The association meets in Washington in February, with a summer meeting in Boston next August. . . A delegation from Boston set up a booth Tuesday to promote the city at the Tulsa conference.

The giveaways included a plastic bag with the "Cheers" logo, a lobster that squeaks when you squeeze it and Cape Cod potato chips. All were made in Boston except the lobster, which was actually made in China.

"But at least it's reflective of Boston," one worker said.

Also offered were Titleist and Top-Flite golf balls, both of which are made in Massachusetts.

It doesn't hurt that South Carolina Gov. …

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