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Washington Insight

September 13, 1993|PAUL HOUSTON and JIM MANN and WILLIAM J. EATON

GO FIGURE: With an Oct. 1 deadline nearing, White House staffers are getting twitchy over President Clinton's order to cut their ranks 25% below levels in the George Bush Administration. But the question of who goes and who stays is turning into a smoke-filled numbers game--and the public may never know whether Clinton's ballyhooed edict was met. . . . Consider the National Security Council. A Republican-oriented source who requests anonymity swears that there were 143 people at the NSC under Bush but that the number under Clinton has jumped to 178. Not so, says NSC spokesman Donald Steinberg, who claims that there were 179 staffers under Bush. "We don't know exactly how many people are here now," he said, because some are on loan from places such as the State and Defense departments. In any case, he adds, the NSC is "committed" to getting down to 147 by Oct. 1. . . . That number, of course, is either three more than served under Bush (Republican source) or 32 less (Democratic source). One thing is for sure: Of all of Clinton's campaign pledges, this one pleases his staff the least.

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