WASHINGTON -- President Bush, seeking to deflect blame for the slow pace of the United States' economic recovery, said last night he will make a new pitch to Congress to enact the package of short-term investment incentives he proposed in January.
"I'm convinced that if the Congress had moved on what I suggested, not only would confidence come back, but those stimulants would have worked," Mr. Bush said in a television interview. "I'd still like them to do it . . . and I'll make that challenge."
During an appearance on the "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" taped before Mr. Bush left Helsinki, Finland, yesterday, the president also repudiated a new independent television advertising campaign highlighting allegations that his Democratic opponent, Bill Clinton, had an extramarital affair.
"We're not in that business," declared Mr. Bush, who called the attacks on Mr. Clinton "sleaze."
He said there was "nothing we can do about it legally," but he hoped the ad campaign by Floyd G. Brown would stop.
Mr. Brown, chairman of the Presidential Victory Committee, created the "Willie Horton" advertisements, which injected a racial element into Mr. Bush's criticism of Democrat Michael S. Dukakis in 1988.
The president's effort to revive his economic growth package, which is expected to be offered when Congress reconvenes after the Democratic National Convention next week, will be entirely symbolic. Bush aides acknowledge the Democratic-led Congress is even less likely to pass the president's proposals now than it was last winter.
The president gave up on his package March 20 when Congress sent him a version containing a tax increase on the wealthy that he vetoed.