December 10, 1995
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Bob Franken
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With another budget confrontation with President Clinton five days away, Republican congressional leaders were scheduled to meet Sunday to work on a response to Clinton's latest spending proposal. White House and congressional budget negotiators are set to meet again on Monday.
On Saturday, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, called balancing the budget a "moral imperative." And he said welfare must be reformed because "we cannot continue to create an underclass that is illiterate, ignorant and violent." Gingrich was the featured speaker at a fund-raising dinner in Asheville, North Carolina, for fellow Republican Rep. Charles Taylor.
More than 1,600 people paid $50 a plate to hear Gingrich, and about half of them spent another $75 to attend a private reception with the architect of the Republican revolution. Outside the hotel where the fund-raiser was held, about 300 demonstrators represented viewpoints on both sides of the budget battle. One anti-Gingrich demonstrator argued her point with a man holding a sign reading "Liberals lie." (102K AIFF sound or 102K WAV sound)
The budget impasse brings with it the threat of another partial government shutdown by next weekend. In his speech, Gingrich put the blame squarely on Clinton. (120K AIFF sound or 120K WAV sound) But it is the Republicans, especially Gingrich, who have taken a beating in the polls over the budget. In the latest CNN-Time magazine poll, the speaker's unfavorable rating is 56 percent, more than double his 24 percent favorable rating. The same poll gave President Clinton a favorable rating of 61 percent and an unfavorable rating of 35 percent.
Allegations that Republicans want to cut Medicare spending are the "Big Lie," Gingrich told supporters at the fund-raiser. The speaker said that under the GOP plan, Medicare will pay an average of $7,100 per senior citizen in seven years, up from the current $4,800.
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