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DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION '96

Clinton Report Card

August 26, 1996

In his 1992 campaign, President Clinton made an unusually large number of specific promises. As president, he has kept some, abandoned others and has accepted compromises on many. Here are some of the highlights.

PROMISES KEPT:

ABORTION

Promise: End the "gag rule" that prohibited family-planning clinics that received federal funds from counseling patients about abortion. Lift the ban on medical research using fetal tissue. Revoke the ban on imports of RU 486, the "abortion pill" developed in France.

Result: Three days after taking office, issued executive orders overturning the "gag rule" on clinics, ending the fetal tissue research ban and allowing imports of RU 486. The administration is expected to soon approve a rule allowing domestic production and sale of RU 486. This year, Clinton also vetoed legislation to ban certain late-term abortions that opponents call "partial-birth" procedures.

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AIDS

Promise: Increase funding for AIDS research, prevention and education and speed approval of AIDS drugs. Appoint an "AIDS czar."

Result: Administration has increased funding for AIDS research, prevention and care by 37% in three years, and has cleared some obstacles to speedy use of experimental drugs. Created office of AIDS czar, currently held by Patricia S. Fleming.

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BUDGET DEFICIT

Promise: Cut federal budget deficit in half, to $141 billion, by 1996.

Result: Deficit headed below $130 billion, perhaps as low as $116 billion, this year--the lowest level in dollar terms since 1982 and the lowest relative to the size of the economy since 1974.

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ECONOMIC POLICY

Promise: Establish an economic security council modeled on the National Security Council to coordinate international economic policy for White House.

Result: Economic council, currently headed by Laura D'Andrea Tyson, created when Clinton took office, has become a major force in administration policymaking.

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FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

Promise: Sign family and medical leave bill vetoed by President Bush.

Result: Legislation signed first week of the administration, requiring many businesses to grant employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or a family illness.

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HAITI

Promise: Return Haiti's elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to office.

Result: Sent U.S. troops to Haiti in the fall of 1994 to successfully return Aristide to office. The island has subsequently had its first peaceful transfer of power from one president to another.

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TRADE

Promise: Gain approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Result: Won approval of the trade agreement late in 1993 despite intense opposition within the Democratic Party.

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WELFARE

Promise: "End welfare as we know it."

Result: Welfare legislation initiated by congressional Republicans and signed into law last week accomplished that goal, but in a far harsher form than Clinton initially had proposed.

PROMISES ALTERED:

CRIME

Promise: Put 100,000 new police officers on streets of cities around the nation.

Result: The 1994 anti-crime legislation included Clinton's plan to help fund new police officers, but the number added will fall short of Clinton's promised 100,000. To date, the program has helped localities pay for 44,000 police positions, although not all of them are regular patrol officers.

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GAYS IN THE MILITARY

Promise: End ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Result: Facing intense opposition by military leaders and Congress, adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowing gays to serve in military as long as they keep their sexual orientation to themselves. The compromise policy appears to have had little effect in reducing military investigations of servicemen and women suspected of being gay.

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HEALTH CARE

Promise: Within first 100 days in office, propose national health care system to provide universal coverage.

Result: Proposed a massive health care reform program in September 1993, but opposition from business groups and major players in the health care industry, as well as political mistakes by the administration, led to the program's defeat.

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NATIONAL SERVICE AND STUDENT LOANS

Promise: Create "national service" program in which teenagers work in community-service jobs to earn college tuition. Scrap student loan program, administered by banks using federal funds. Replace with direct government loans to students.

Result: Some 40% of student loans are now made directly by the government, eliminating banks as middlemen, although Republicans in Congress plan to try to cut that back to 10%. The Americorps national service program began early in the administration, but on a much smaller level than Clinton had envisioned.

PROMISES ABANDONED

ENVIRONMENT

Promise: Raise fuel-efficiency standards for cars to 40 mph by 2000.

Result: Dropped after auto-industry opposition.

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HAITIAN REFUGEES

Promise: End Bush administration policy of intercepting Haitian refugees trying to reach the United States by boat.

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