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E-mail From Washington

From: Wolf Blitzer and Bob Franken
In: Washington
Posted: 4-29-97

Subject: Morris says he's helping Clinton, Lott make budget deal

Disgraced former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris says he's talking behind the scenes with both the president and with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in an effort to achieve a balanced budget deal.

Morris has worked as a paid political consultant for Lott as well as for Clinton.

In a telephone conversation with CNN, Morris said he's talked "a bunch" of times with the president and Lott over the past "couple weeks," but he refused to provide details.

White House press secretary Mike McCurry confirms that Clinton and Morris continue to talk "off and on."

Through a spokeswoman, Lott denied Tuesday morning that Morris is acting as any sort of go-between in the budget talks.

"He (Lott) hasn't talked to Morris in three weeks," spokesperson Susan Irby told CNN. "He does talk with everyone who phones, but he (Morris) is not advising Lott and he's not taking part in the budget talks."

Lott "does not need Dick Morris to talk to the president," she said.

A spokesman for Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici called Morris' claim "nonsense."

"As far as I'm concerned," the spokesman said, "he's just trying to sell a book ... He is not a factor."

Morris, for his part, confirmed the comments he made in The Washington Times that appeared today.

"The story is true," Morris told CNN. "I'm not negotiating the deal. I'm not brokering it. It's not my deal. But I am trying to raise the level of trust that each has in the other and build a level of trust to help explain the one to the other."

Morris, who was forced to resign as a Clinton adviser during the Democratic convention in Chicago, predicted there will be a deal "soon." He described himself as a "catalyst."

"Sure there will be a deal," he said. "Both guys (Clinton and Lott) understand they can't live without one."

Meanwhile, budget negotiations between the White House and the Congress continue today.


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