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News Brief 2

Powell for Affirmative Action, Abortion Rights, Gun Control

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

Colin L. Powell says he is for affirmative action, abortion rights and gun control, all positions that could spell trouble with conservative voters if he decides to seek the Republican nomination for president.

In the first of a series of television interviews to promote his new book, "An American Journey," the retired general also told Barbara Walters he is against organized prayer in schools. The interview will air Friday on ABC's "20/20," and the network released excerpts Monday.

Powell, who enjoys substantial support in the polls, has said he will decide after his book tour whether to seek the GOP nomination, mount a third-party presidential candidacy or pass up the race.

In the interview, Powell was asked why he turned down an offer to become President Clinton's secretary of state last year.

"I am not a fan of the manner in which foreign policy issues are hammered out in this administration," Powell said. He said "the process lacks a certain coherence When you have a situation where your friends and allies and your opponents are not really sure whether today's decision will still be a decision a week from now, then you are undercutting your position in the world."

Powell said that "I benefitted from affirmative action in the Army," not as a "quota promotion" but because Army officials decided that "if anybody needs a little bit more help to be equal, we're going to give him that help." He said school admissions officials should "take a look at the total background of these youngsters," regardless of race.

Young people should be taught to avoid pregnancy and to consider adoption as an alternative to abortion, Powell said. But if a woman becomes pregnant and "it is her choice to abort, it's a matter between her, her doctors, her family and her conscience and her God. So that's pro-choice."

Senate Rejects $11 Billion Child Care Bill for Welfare Mothers

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

The Senate Monday turned aside Democratic warnings that the Republican welfare bill would leave millions of children without adequate day care, defeating on a close vote an effort to set aside $11 billion in child care funds for welfare mothers forced to work.

With the Senate slated to complete action this week on a plan to rewrite the nation's welfare system, the issue of how to provide sufficient child care emerged as a major point of contention.

Republicans said their plan to allow states much more flexibility in running welfare programs would free up resources to cover any additional need for child care. But Democrats argued that the bill would create a crisis by requiring states to put half of their welfare recipients into jobs without increasing child care funds.

Members of both parties acknowledged the critical role child care will play in determining whether it is possible to move millions of parents off public assistance and into the work force.

"The bottom line is this bill doesn't work without" adequate child care, said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., who sponsored the amendment with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. Expecting a major segment of the welfare population to find and keep jobs "without a strong child care component, is to engage in a complete fantasy."

Kassebaum's Plan for the FDA Looks to Speed Drug Approval

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

A rough draft of the plan by Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Chairman Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., to revamp the much-criticized Food and Drug Administration is making the rounds.

The "concept paper," titled "the FDA Performance and Accountability Act of 1995," looks to speed up the FDA drug-approval process and improve access for seriously ill patients to get drugs that haven't gotten approval.

Some people may think the changes are driven not by consumer interest but by the regulated companies. There is one section on "Food Regulatory Reform" that's pretty skimpy, but there's a note that "(Other provisions may be added to Title IX, pending discussions with staff and the food industry.)"

The problem, one GOP source said when asked about the lack of detail in that section, was that "we had no handle at all on what the industry's priorities were." Industry representatives are working on that section now.

New' Betty Crocker to Look Like Quintessential American Woman

The Baltimore Sun

The face that launched a thousand cake mixes is about to get a historic make-over as part of her 75th anniversary.

Whether Betty Crocker's new visage will send consumers sailing for the grocery shelves remains to be seen. But one thing seems certain: The new Betty Crocker will depart from her 75-year-old tradition of looking overly middle class - and very white.

"We're sure to get a much more ethnically diverse looking Betty Crocker. She is intended to represent the women of America, and a lot has changed about women in America since the last portrait was done," said Barry Wegener, director of communications for General Mills, the Minneapolis-based food products giant that has marketed the Betty Crocker line since 1921.

This new - what some are calling politically correct - Betty Crocker will make her debut on boxes of selected products in February.

The seven different images of Betty Crocker - one of the great icons of modern American marketing - that have graced General Mills products since 1921 have come from artist's representations of what they thought the quintessential American women looked like.