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Clinton Ponders Race Conference

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 22) -- President Bill Clinton is weighing whether to convene a White House conference on race relations, say members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The president broached the idea with caucus members in a meeting Wednesday.

"He made it very clear that he thought the country was suffering on this race question," Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told The Associated Press. "He would like to see some really serious discussions take place to get us moving in the right direction on this."

The White House won't comment on the meeting. Officials told AP privately that while Clinton is considering a full-blown White House conference, he has not yet made a final decision.

Clinton has said he wants to elevate America's discussion of its race relations, a process he plans to begin June 14 with a commencement speech at the University of California, San Diego.

He is also considering returning to one of his favorite public formats, the town-hall meeting, as well as convening a commission to study the nation's race issues. Some details are expected to emerge in the San Diego speech.

In his inaugural address Jan. 20, the president pledged to devote his energies to this cause. "We cannot, we will not, succumb to the dark impulses that lurk in the far regions of the soul, everywhere," he said then. "We shall overcome them."