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Budget politics

Everyone claims victory

November 21, 1995
Web posted at: 12:25 p.m. EST

From Senior White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the aftermath of a budget compromise that sent federal employees back to work Monday, it was predictable that both President Clinton and the Republican leadership in Congress are claiming victory. White house officials are delighted by the latest polls that show Americans -- by a nearly two to one margin -- continue to blame the Republicans for the shutdown. Publicly Tuesday, White House officials showed mock restraint. "The president instructed his staff not to make too much of the polls that show us doing very well," said press secretary Mike McCurry. (228K AIFF sound or 228K WAV sound)


Clinton "caved in"

As for the Republicans, the House leadership claimed Clinton blinked and party chairman Haley Barbour said the president "totally capitulated" when he accepted their demand for a seven year balanced budget using congressional budget office numbers. "You want to know who won? The American people won because Bill Clinton caved in and agreed that we would have a honest budget with honest numbers that eliminate the deficit in seven years."

Kennelly Late Monday, the president went to Capitol Hill for a strategy session with House Democrats. Some liberals fear he may be getting ready to go too far in making concessions. But conservative Democrats, including Connecticut's Barbara Kennelly, are anxious for him to go even further. (138K AIFF sound or 138K WAV sound)


Republican complaint

Even after the compromise agreement was reached, there was disagreement. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta complaining about Panetta's comment that the budget could be balanced in seven or eight years, rather than the agreed to seven years. (168K AIFF sound or 168K WAV sound)

And freshmen Republicans remain adamant. "I hope the president's staff is not speaking for him and that the president will give his word and agree to balance the budget with us," Rep. David McIntosh, R-Indiana, told CNN.

White House officials say Clinton could have held out a bit longer given the latest poll numbers but was anxious to get people back to work Monday morning. What they don't say is that poll numbers can change very quickly.

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