WASHINGTON — Urging Congress to finish work on the crime bill, President Clinton said guns, drugs, gangs and crime are sapping the unity of Americans and threatening to blight the nation's future.
"No issue poses the need to come together more to deal with the problems we face than does the cancer of crime and violence that is eating away at the bonds that unite us as a people," the President said in his weekly radio address, broadcast Saturday.
Clinton also said that the welfare reform plan he offered last week "will encourage personal responsibility and help strengthen our families through tougher child support, more education and training, and an absolute requirement to go to work after a period of time."
But Republicans, in a response delivered by Sen. Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina, attacked the plan as defending the current welfare system. Faircloth called its work provisions "a total sham" and said that overall it is "wrong for America."
The President recorded his remarks in Chicago on Friday after visiting the Robert Taylor Homes, a housing project overrun by gangs and crime.
"I went there because it's a good place to emphasize to all Americans that we have begun a nationwide effort to drive the guns, the gangs and the drugs from public housing and from all neighborhoods where Americans feel terrorized," Clinton said.
In an interview that was published Saturday in the Chicago Sun-Times, Clinton endorsed a $2.8-billion plan to replace Chicago's public housing complexes with mixed-income developments that would be scattered throughout the city and suburbs.
The President was spending the Fathers' Day weekend at Camp David with his wife and daughter.