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Bill Clinton for President

During his first four years as president, Bill Clinton has presided over a period in our history marked by stability and economic growth at home. While his record of questionable ethics adds some hesitation to our decision, because of his record as president and his vision for the future, we again endorse Bill Clinton for president.

During his first two years in office, Clinton proposed and passed a diverse array of legislation, fulfilling much of the vision he offered during the previous campaign. His economic plan, embodied in the budget passed by Congress in 1993, cut the deficit in half. The deficit is now at its lowest point since 1981. We agree that the path of fiscal responsibility will lead to a healthy economy in the future.

Clinton also has sponsored a number of other pieces of far-reaching domestic legislation: the Family and Medical Leave Act, crime and gun control legislation, and - most controversial - universal health care. While he aggressively cut the budget, Clinton reversed many of the budget-cutting excesses that might have threatened public safety, the environment, and education. In general, Clinton has steered a prudent course, balancing fiscal conservatism with the preservation of the programs most crucial to our standard of living.

Of all the positions he has taken as president, perhaps Clinton's stand on education is most prescient. While he has touted his support of student loans and grants and his Americorps program, what seems more important is Clinton's avowed willingness to make education a centerpiece of America's long term economic growth. Investing in our future requires a national commitment to science, college education, as well as local education efforts and Head Start. Unlike his opponent, Clinton has voiced this commitment during the campaign, and he has staunchly supported it in his record.

As a candidate, Clinton has demonstrated a distinct advantage over Bob Dole. Beyond his responsibilities as policy-maker and commander in chief, it is the president that represents the voice of this country in domestic and international affairs. Presidential charisma can play a critical role in bolstering support and unifying a split America. Dole's demonstrations of petty incivility and a lack of competence in the public arena represent serious deficiencies for him as a potential president.

While we endorse Clinton for re-election, we are at the same time dismayed at the apparent ethical problems displayed by his administration. We feel that the president should accept responsibility for any impropriety and take strong steps to forestall ethical misconduct in the future. Full disclosure of campaign and White House documents related to the charges would help. Clinton should also promise not to pardon anyone convicted because of wrongdoing. In addition, making campaign finance reform a priority over the next four years might prevent problems in the future. It is clear that Clinton must take action to quell the rising tide of cynicism and distrust of government in this country.

Once Clinton has addressed these problems, he will be in a far better position to fulfill his original vision for America: Health care for all, social justice and tolerance, and a small, effective government.