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THE SAUNA JOURNAL WASHINGTON THURSDAY, JANUARY 18. 1996 FORBES T CAMPAIGN '96 Forbes gaining on Dole Poll also shows Kansan trailing President Clinton in head-to-head battle By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Support for GOP presidential front-runner Bob Dole appears shallow at the same time rival candidate Steve Forbes is gaining nationwide name recognition, according to a new national poll. The survey, released Wednesday by The Pew Research Center, found that just over half — 51 percent — of voters favoring Dole in a head-to-head match-up with President Clinton are motivated more by anti-Clinton sentiment than by Dole's character, policies or party identification. "Nothing is sticking out about Dole as a positive character," commented Andrew Kohut, director of the independent polling center. "That may come with time," Kohut continued, but for now, the numbers suggest that despite Dole's huge lead in horserace polls, he is still vulnerable to Forbes and the rest of the GOP pack. Forbes, the long-shot candidate who has catapulted to second place in most polls, has gained considerable name recognition since he entered the presidential race in September as an unknown. The Pew survey found that 61 percent of Americans nationwide now know enough about Forbes to have an opinion of him, even though the multimillionaire publisher's aggressive advertising campaign is targeted to the early- contest states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona and South Carolina. Still, public opinion of Forbes is evenly split between favorable and unfavorable. Among the two-thirds of Republican voters who know of Forbes, 65 percent view him favorably, but only 10 percent felt strongly enough to say they are "very favorable" toward Forbes. "They're not exactly bubbly," Kohut said of respondents. "Forbes has acquired a lot of name recognition, but people don't know what to make of ,him on balance, and as a public figure, he's a work in progress." In other somber news for Dole, the survey found tSat registered voters favor Clinton over Dole by a margin of 53 percent to 41 percent. • Breaking that number down by party, Clinton held a similarly strong lead among independents, 53 percent to 38 percent; and 18 percent of Republicans said they would be inclined to vote for Clinton over Dole. By contrast, the defection rate among Democrats, where Clinton faqes no serious challenger, was less than 10 percent. The telephone survey of 1,200 Americans over age 18 was conducted Jan. 11-14 and claims a 3- percentage-point margin of error. T CAMPAIGN '96 Flat-tax proposals high on GOP list The Associated Press Jack Kemp, chairman of the Tax Reform Commission, dumps a load of tax laws during a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (left) and Ohio Treasurer Kenneth Blackwell (right) look on. Presidential hopefuls have plans to change intricate tax system By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Hoping to turn tax pique to political advantage, a Republican commission on Wednesday recommended replacing the nation's intricate tax code with a single rate and personal exemptions to shield the poor. GOP presidential front-runner Bob Dole cautiously welcomed the effort to find a "fairer, flatter, simpler approach," but warned that any change must not shift more of the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. In an election year filled with talk of a flat tax, Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on President Clinton to work with Republicans to junk the current tax system and start anew. The GOP commission, headed by former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp, shied away from endorsing a specific plan or flat rate pushed by any GOP presidential candidate. The panel sidestepped the issue of whether to eliminate politically popular deductions such as one for mortgage interest. It said the matter should be studied. Publisher Steve 'Forbes, who has moved up in GOP presidential polls with heavy advertising for his flat-tax plan, called the Republican group's recommendation encouraging. He offered his own plan as the answer. It calls for a 17 percent flat rate, no deduction for mortgage interest and no individual '/How many levels? Republican didates favor a a GOP commission fi| analyzing that otfrtoorks: A/-What la the rate? work. 'How many T forms? Two Steven Forbes 15 percent calls for 17 for the percent; Sen. Phil Gramm says 16 437 rent deductions would be payments, charitable -taxed? from savings accounts AP taxes on interest or capital gains. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin said Clinton supports efforts to simplify the tax system. But Rubin said the Republican commission's plan "offers no solution to how a flat tax proposal can avoid either raising income taxes on working families or exploding the deficit." Dole said he would pass the commission's recommendations on to the Senate Finance Committee, or perhaps to a task force. T FARM BILL Budget impasse could sprout new ag measure Agriculture secretary may enforce old laws to make decisions on ag programs By ROBERT GREENE The Associated Press . WASHINGTON — Congress will start work on a separate farm bill next week if no deal emerges to balance the federal budget, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said Wednesday. "We're getting down to crunch time," Rep. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said. Early this month, Roberts introduced just- in-case farm legislation that outlines the same new farm program included in balanced-budget legislation vetoed by President Clinton. Key senators are considering several options as well. "The numbers are close. The policy ideas items are not identical. But I'm confident that those policy items can be worked through." Dan Glickman U.S. agriculture secretary ROBERTS The budget fight caused 1995 to come and go without a measure to determine crop subsidy and acreage levels for major crops. The approach of a new growing season is forcing action. Congress returns to work next week after Clinton's State of the Union speech Tuesday. The following Friday, a short-term spending bill that has kept the government in business expires. The Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana, is weighing several possibilities, including tacking farm legislation onto the next short-term spending bill, if a new one is needed. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R- Kan., says there needs to be a farm bill by the end of February. "Kansas farmers have already planted their winter wheat without knowing any program details," Dole said in a recent floor speech. The Republican presidential candidate told North Dakota farmers Tuesday he would support extending current programs, but only as a last choice. They would have to be stretched out two years to keep farm policy from being mired in electioneering. Dole said he supported the Roberts measure despite serious misgivings and would like to see it as separate legislation or in the budget package. The measure reduces up to $6 billion in farm program spending over seven years. Farmers would get "market transition payments" based on past subsidies. The fixed payments would decline each year. Government control of most farming decisions would end. Because payments would be made regardless of crop prices, Dole said there would be "hundreds and hundreds of stories" about big farmers getting big payments. Still he supports its free-market ap- proach. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, meanwhile, has held out the threat of using old farm law and his broad discretion under other laws to make program decisions. The 1949 Agricultural Adjustment Act is the permanent farm law that remained when the 1990 farm bill expired. The first announcement will be before Feb. 15, concerning the rice program. Glickman will announce corn and wheat programs in mid-March. Because the law uses a formula based on farm prices from 1910-1914, taxpayers would guarantee farmers $7.82 for a bushel of wheat and $5.50 for corn — about twice as much as the current guarantees. Subsidies would be limited because of allotments to individual farms. Land that was not farmed in the 1950s would get no money. Glickman has said he would rather see farm legislation in the budget package because spending levels for agriculture would be protected. He said he has been working with lawmakers. "The numbers are close," he said. "The policy ideas items are not identical. But I'm confident that those policy items can be worked through." T TRAVEL OFFICE FIRINGS First lady's pressure led to dismissals Former presidential aide says pressure came indirectly through others in White House By The Associated Press WASHINGTON —> Confronted with his own memos linking Hillary Rodham Clinton to the White House travel office firings, a former presidential aide testified Wednesday that he was pressured to take the action but not directly by the first lady. "She did not order me to fire them," David Watkins, seated alone all day at a wooden witness table, told a House investigative committee looking into the May 1993 dismissals. But: "Did I feel pressure? Yes, I did." , He said others in the White House, including the late deputy counsel Vincent Foster and Hollywood producer Harry Thomason, who at the time was working as a private, unpaid adviser to President Clinton, invoked Hillary Clinton's name in pressing for the firings. "The pressure that I felt was coming from the first lady was conveyed primarily through Harry Thomason and Vince Foster," Watkins testified. The committee's chairman, William Clinger, R-Pa., announced he would ask Hillary Clinton to answer questions in writing to clear up exactly what role she played. Clinton has said that aides may have misinterpreted her expressions of concern about possible financial problems in the travel of- The 1 Associated Press Ex-presidential aide David Watkins (right) talks with attorney Robert Mathias on Tuesday before giving testimony to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. fice to mean she wanted the workers fired, but that she never ordered such an action. Congressional investigators released three notes that Watkins had written around the time of the firings linking Clinton to the action — including one that said the first lady was "ready to fire them all" a week before it happened. Congressional investigators confronted Watkins with his notes from the conversation with Clinton in which he quoted her as saying, "We need those people out.. We need our people in." ' "I can't say those were the precise words," Watkins answered. "These were my thoughts and recollections of the conversation from Mrs. Clinton to me." Congressional Republicans allege the firings were instigated by Clinton and Thomason to allow a consulting firm that Thomason had an interest in to get the business of scheduling travel for the White House press corp. T SUPREME COURT VMFs all-male policy tested in high court But institute's lawyer says women would alter demanding program By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Virginia Military Institute's all-male policy unlawfully tells women they are unable to dompete with men, a Clinton administration lawyer •. told the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Several justices seemed to agree. But VMI's lawyer said admitting women would fundamentally alter the demanding military-style program at the college. ''Unless we are all to be educated the same ... we ought to allow these programs that work," argued Theodore Olson, representing VMI and the state of Virginia. The tax-supported college-should . be allowed to exclude women even if the state did not offer a separate program for them, he said. Clinton administration lawyer Paul Bender contended that a lower court ruling that let VMI keep women out was based on a "stereotypical view of women and men." VMI is designed to teach "manly values that only men can learn," while Virginia's new program for women aims to teach "womanly values, feminine values," he said. VMI could not exclude blacks by contending their admission would change the college's teaching methods, nor could separate law schools using different teaching methods be set up for men and women, Bender said. Several justices clearly were sympathetic. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former women's rights lawyer, .said, "If women are to be leaders hi 'life-and in-the military; then men have got to become' accustomed to taking commands frorti women, and men will not become accustomed if women are not let in." The justices gave short shrift to the administration's bid for a declaration that the same strict legal standard used in race-discrimination cases must apply to cases alleging sex bias. . Under questioning by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Bender agreed the court could decide the VMI case without setting such a standard. Olson said many studies have • shown that, young men and women benefit from single-sex education, and that barring Virginia from offering separate schools for men and women could doom government aid to private, single-sex schools. VMI, in Lexington, Va., and The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., are the nation's only all-male, state-supported military colleges. The court's ruling in the VM1 case, expected by July, also is ex pected to apply to The Citadel where Shannon Faulkner becanu the first female cadet last August.