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THE TENNESSEAN, Wednwdoy, Sptmbw28, 1983 7-A Watt Biggest Joke in D.C., O'Neill Says By ELIZABETH WHARTON i WASHINGTON (UPI) House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. described James Watt as Washing- ton's "biggest joke yesterday, but the embattled interior secretary ' won strong support from wheel- ' chair-bound Sen. James East, R- i L-LUL fkPi p hill N.C. 1 At the White House, spokesman Don't Miss This! we've cut These Prices To The Bone! Larry Speakes said calls and mail are running against Watt. But he repeated, "Our view is the Presi dent has confidence in the secre tary until I tell you differently." v (5 TEN REPUBLICAN senators r fc3Y if Now Only . . 3,or$1 Thru Saturday lay, Snickers Dove Bar Soap 4.75 oz. bar V moisturizing cream Reg. 52 each Clorox Pre Wash 16 oz. size bottle Laundry soil & stain remover Reg. 1.28 lidance" Knit Top tyle sleeves pe neck imfortable Save up to 1.40 : ssorted colors JSIzesS.M.L "Piasndance" Style Cut Off Knit Top I Reg:9.97 Cut out neck & sleeves Assorted styles & colors Sizes S,M,L Reg. 7.57-8.97 Ladies Corduroy Blazers Assorted Fashionable Fall Colors Sizes 7-16 Reg. 24.88 Mens Plaid Sport Shirts Button-Down Collar 2 Button Cuffs Assorted Colored Plaids Reg. 12.43 Now Only 97c Thru Saturday Masters of the Universe Figures Choose from a large Assortment Approx. 5 inches tall . Everyday Low Price Toy Army Tank Plastic Army green in Color Real Pivoting Gun Barrel Reg. 3.94 f" -"-" (O) 4 have called for Watt's resignation since he joked in a speecn Jasi week that he had a balanced coal easing study commission com posed of "a black ... a woman, two Jews and a cripple." President Reagan accepted an apology from Watt last week, but the public controversy over the interior secretary's wisecrack has continued. House and Senate GOP leaders discussed the Watt situation at a morning meeting, and a Senate Republican aide said afterward the White House "is still taking congressional reaction and weigh ing it." O'NEILL WAS asked about the controversy at his regular news brief ing yesterday. : The town always needs a joke, and he's the biggest joke we've had in years, the Massachusetts Democrat said. ' But he suggested Reagan will not fire Watt, because the President "believes what Jim Watt be-' ieves." In a letter to Senate colleagues defending Watt, East declared that the interior secretary is "not insensitive ... not a bigot. "RATHER, HE is frequently the target of unfair ad hominem attacks character attacks from those who seek to drive him from office because they do not approve, of the public policy positions that he represents," the letter said. East has been confined to a wheelchair since he had polio at. the age of 24. , Tm disabled, he said in an in terview on his way by wheelchair-to the Senate. "What's most troublesome to me about this incident- is that people make use of the. word 'cripple' to attack Mr. Watt-for his policies. That is far more offensive to me than his using the word." "AS ONE WHO is confined to a wheelchair, I am not insulted by. the word," East said. "It is not a slang expression. It is not a term of derision. Much as the term "Negro" now has been replaced by "black" so "cripple" once was synonymous with what we now call' a "handicapped" person. . "Mr. Watt's term was, at worst", a bit old-fashioned. Clearly it does not rise to the level of a slur." Three leaders of the Council for Volunteer Americans presented the White House with some of the 120,000 postcards and letters, colt lected on Watt's behalf since last spring when he raised music fans' ire by suggesting the Beach Boys drew the wrong element to Wash? ington's annual July 4 festivities ; "THE PRESS and the ecology bureaucrats have concentrated on getting Watt no matter what Ihe . cost." said group leader Bob Bros-trom of Annandale, Va., who hinv self is disabled by polio. " I . He agreed with East that; the word "cripple" is "interchange" able with 'handicapped' or 'disV ; abled.'" : At the White House, Speakes de clined to give out the figures on " calls and mail coming in about Watt WHEN ASKED by Watt's future, he referred reporters to a Reagan interview published in Monday's New York Post, in which the president called his remarks "unfortunate" and "a mistake," but said the secretary .will have to decide for himself whether to stay in office. 327-0202 Anothor Bfig'nt kta to tipmi your thovghtfulnt Mnd evr popular SchtffWfa or D'ttfftnba-chia Plant Will loi monthi and month o wondorfwl Gift tnjoymtnt fof yoort Boauti-fully Docorattd. Minimal '15 In prttty wicker botktt odd 2M Wo honor Map Credit Card or Phono Order . iwo 1-59 deral Field Load ; rotshells tecl tor Upland rdsiGame ? and 1 6 Gauge have 18 0ZS. ot shot, 20 . 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