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Economic Summit Set for December

By Michael Weisskopf
The Washington Post

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

President-elect Clinton hopes to forge the beginnings of his economic plan at a meeting of financial analysts and business and labor leaders to be held here in December, transition officials said Monday.

Emerging from a morning meeting at the Arkansas state Capitol, Clinton told reporters he planned to invite a cross-section of experts to discuss "the gravity of the situation, deal with what our options are, get as many good ideas as I can."

"I just think it would be a very good thing for me and for the country to have two or three days where we really just focus on (the economy), to give some people a chance to have their say to me directly," Clinton said.

Earlier, transition spokesman George Stephanopoulos said that while the summit is not necessarily intended to produce an economic "action plan" for the early days of the Clinton administration, in places "where consensus does exist, we'll try to move on it." He said that ideas generated at the meeting could contribute to the plan by Clinton to deal with the nation's economic problems.

But Stephanopoulos said the precise timing, agenda and invitation list are still being worked out by the transition team.

The team is also considering issuing a series of executive orders soon after the Jan. 20 inauguration, including a lifetime ban on senior government officials going to work for foreign governments, Clinton advisers said. The president-elect spoke of such a prohibition during the campaign, and the point of issuing it immediatley after entering office would be to signal his commitment to the highest ethical standards.

Also being considered for immediate action are orders to lift the Bush administration's ban on federally funded fetal tissue research, its proposed rollback of wetland protection and the prohibition on abortion counseling at federally funded family planning clinics.

On the sixth day after his victory, Clinton left the governor's mansion at 6:42 a.m. for a 30-minute jog to the downtown YMCA where he worked out for 35 minutes.

Clinton spent the rest of his day on plans for transferring state power to Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and for his move to the White House. He met with Vice President-elect Gore and transition director Warren M. Christopher to set a timetable for Cabinet appointments, Stephanop-oulos said at a briefing, stressing that none are expected in the near future.

"Who exactly will be in place at what particular time we don't know yet," he said.

But in a later interview he hinted that his nominee for treasury secretary or a key economic adviser would probably be on board in time to coordinate the economic summit.

Asked whether the incoming president might be consumed with more foreign policy problems than he expected, the spokesman said that international events are expected to "take up time," but Clinton's "top priority" would be the economy.

Clinton in his brief remarks to reporters echoed his campaign views that "there are a lot of very troubling signs in the economy. I think this is what the election was about."