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GOP Wants More Budget Details From Clinton

The day after his speech, Republicans wonder whether era of big government is really over

Clinton

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 5) -- As Bill Clinton touted his education-first strategy in Georgia today, some Republicans are wary the president may have signaled a return to big government solutions in his State of the Union message.

Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson, appearing on Fox "Morning News," expressed some concern that in presenting a laundry list of proposals, Clinton may be pointing too much to federal solutions.

"My bet is that it's going to be over-control," Nicholson said, referring to Clinton's 10-point education strategy. "This sounds pretty federal to us."

Education was the centerpiece of Clinton's State of the Union speech Tuesday night. He offered a plan to make American education the best in the world by raising standards, connecting schools to the Internet and offering tax incentives to help finance college education, among other ideas.

Today, Clinton participated in a roundtable discussion on education reforms at Georgia's Augusta State University, the first in a series of events designed to drive home his message.

Clinton

Clinton stressed his proposal for a $1,500 tax credit to help people further their education, and compared his hoped-for "national crusade" to improve the schools to the campaign that brought electricity to rural America in the 1930s.

Press Secretary Michael McCurry said Clinton wants local participation to drive the educational reforms he desires.

"It's not just about the federal government spending money or it's not just about the federal government having any kind of a role," McCurry said on "CBS This Morning." What's needed, McCurry said, is a national response by teachers, parents and school districts to the president's call to action.

After Clinton's State of the Union speech, some Republican lawmakers praised the president's centrist themes, but said the real test will be deeds and his proposed federal budget, not his words. The budget is due out Thursday.

"The president has proven time and again that he can talk the talk," Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) told The Associated Press. "The question tonight is, can he walk the walk?"


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