WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Clinton demanded today that
congressional Republicans "put an end to reckless partisanship, to
gimmicks and gamesmanship" and work with him to shape a federal
budget both can accept.
"We can work for a season of promise, not a winter of
politics," Clinton told a White House news conference.
He complained that with only a week to go before the expiration
of the stopgap spending resolution that is financing much of the
government, "Congress is not even close to finishing its work."
Clinton said he wants a responsible budget that will save Social
Security, strengthen Medicare, pay down the national debt and
provide adequate funds for education, crime control, the
environment and his other priorities.
He said he was willing to compromise to that end.
Clinton began with a statement denouncing Senate Republicans for
voting down the nuclear test ban treaty on Wednesday, accusing them
of "partisan politics of the worst kind" and of a new
He said he will proceed according to the terms of the treaty
despite the Senate action. "I have no intention of doing anything
other than sticking with the obligations imposed by the treaty on
the United States," said Clinton. The United States has not
conducted tests since 1992.
"I signed that treaty, it still binds us, unless I go and erase
our name," he said.
On other points, Clinton:
--Said he hopes that the military coup leaders who took over the
government in Pakistan will soon yield to civilian control. "And I
would hope that nothing would be done at this time to aggravate
tensions between India and Pakistan."
--Avoided criticism of Bill Bradley, the candidate challenging
Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic presidential nomination,
saying: "I am not a candidate in the Democratic primary." He said
Gore is the best vice president in history. "I expect him to win
but I expect to support the nominee of my party as I always have,"
Gore has questioned Bradley's Democratic loyalty because the
former New Jersey senator once spoke of possibly campaigning for
president as an independent.
Clinton said that he would serve no useful function by talking
about that. "I am not going to get into horse racing," he said.
The questioning turned repeatedly to the nuclear test ban
rejection and its impact abroad.
"The Chinese should have every assurance that as long as this
administration is here, we support the ban on nuclear tests,"
Clinton said. "Now, if we ever get a president that's against the
test ban treaty, which we may get -- I mean there are plenty of
people out there who say they are against it -- then I think you
might as well get ready for it."
"You'll have Russia testing, you'll have China testing, you'll
have India testing, you'll have Pakistan testing, you'll have
countries abandoning the nonproliferation treaty," Clinton said.
Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican presidential front-runner,
opposes the test ban treaty, but has said he would continue the
voluntary moratorium on testing. Other GOP presidential candidates
also are against the treaty.
Clinton was asked what he thinks the American people will be
looking for in a president in the next election. "What I think
they will be looking for is someone who will offer big ideas," he
said, on the aging of America, the growing number of children, gun
limits to make the country safer, steps against poverty.
"I hope they will say that they don't want America to adopt a
new isolationism, they want us to lead into the future," Clinton
Asked about missile defense systems and their impact on the
existing anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia, he said the
responsible step would be to go ahead with a U.S. system if a
workable one is developed. He said it would be foolish to discard
the ABM treaty, which would bar that, but said the United States
should work with Moscow on possible changes.
Clinton declined to answer a question about his reaction to the
decision of a federal judge that he lied under oath in the sex
harrassment case brought against him by Paula Jones, which
triggered the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "When I am out of office, I
will have a lot to say about this," Clinton said.