Perot, terming Clinton speech 'very positive,' is wary of details

February 18, 1993|By Dallas Morning News

DALLAS -- President Clinton tried to enlist former opponent Ross Perot in his economic call to arms. He telephoned the Dallas businessman to pitch his ideas for cutting the deficit and stimulating growth.

Mr. Perot said later he thought Mr. Clinton's speech yesterday to Congress was "very positive."

"I would expect the American people to react very favorably to it," Mr. Perot said on ABC's "Nightline," about two hours after the xTC president outlined his plan in a nationally televised address.

But Mr. Perot, who is heading a membership drive for his volunteer organization United We Stand, America, added "The devil is in the details."

"In the next few days," he said, "we'll have to get into the details."

The former independent presidential candidate expressed support for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, questioning whether Congress could make necessary spending cuts.

"We feel very strongly that Congress cannot discipline itself at this point," Mr. Perot said.

Parts of Mr. Clinton's plan -- including higher income tax rates, an energy levy and an increase in Social Security benefits subject to taxation -- echo proposals that Mr. Perot included in his campaign book, "United We Stand."

Mr. Perot's supporters from the 1992 campaign will be crucial in winning broad support for the Clinton program, analysts said.

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