Bentsen said to be top pick for economic team

December 04, 1992|By Newsday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- President-elect Bill Clinton and his top advisers intend to make final selections for the incoming administration's economic team over the weekend with the expectation that Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, would get the first offer to become secretary of the Treasury, according to Democratic sources.

"Clinton is supposed to call Bentsen and tell him who is on the team," one source close to the Texas senator said. "And then Clinton and Bentsen will decide whether that team is right for him to quarterback."

While there are some concerns about Mr. Bentsen taking the Treasury position, sources said that he was eager to get the post. "Bentsen would love to have this job," a source said. "It's the perfect way for him to cap his career."

Among the indications that Mr. Bentsen is Mr. Clinton's top choice were confirmed reports that former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, who serves on Mr. Clinton's transition board, met with Texas Gov. Ann Richards earlier this week about his

chances of succeeding Mr. Bentsen in the Senate. If Mr. Bentsen, the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 1988, vacates his seat, Governor Richards would appoint an interim senator until a special election in May.

Mr. Clinton said yesterday about the transition process: "We're making real progress. You all will have some news to chew on in the next few days." Asked specifically about Cabinet selections, Mr. Clinton said: "We're getting close."

Transition communications director George Stephanopoulos, however, said that no announcements on Cabinet appointments were expected this weekend or during Mr. Clinton'w visit to Washington early next week.

Transition spokesmen repeatedly have said that Mr. Clinton wants to make public such key appointments as the heads of the Council of Economic Advisers and the new Economic Security Council, along with Treasury secretary and director of the Office of Management and Budget, before his two-day economic conference in Little Rock, starting Dec. 14.

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