From: John Bisney/CNN and Wolf Blitzer/CNN
Subject: Lott Calls On Clinton To Withdraw Weld Nomination
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is calling on President Bill Clinton to withdraw his nomination of William Weld to be ambassador to Mexico, but the White House says it will continue to press for Weld's confirmation.
The president "should do the right thing for the country and our relations with Mexico (and) withdraw former Governor Weld's nomination and submit another nomination that can be quickly moved through the committee and the floor of the Senate and approved," Lott said.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry responded Thursday afternoon to Lott's suggestion, saying the president has no intention of withdrawing Weld's nomination.
The Weld nomination has been blocked by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who has accused Weld of being too lenient toward illegal drug use.
Lott suggested the president name an "experienced, career, ambassadorial type" who has experience with Mexico or Central America. The Weld nomination, warns Lott, is not going to be moved quickly, "and in my view, not at all."
McCurry later responded, "It's time for Lott to explain to the American people why this nominee can't get a hearing."
"If he's unacceptable, the American people at least have the right to know why," McCurry continued.
McCurry says that the Weld nomination is a complicated issue for the Republican Party -- because Weld is a moderate Republican. But the White House is not going to comply with Lott's wish simply to make the issue go away.
A majority of members on the committee have forced Helms to hold a meeting Friday morning, but Helms insists he will control the agenda and the Weld nomination will not be considered.
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Thursday Sept. 11, 1997
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