Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, a possible contender for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, told big-city mayors Wednesday that they should not seek specific promises of aid from presidential candidates but should demand to be consulted by any new Administration.
"Demand that people are going to let you be a part of the process from day one after the election," Clinton said. "Demand that they share your passion for the real needs of this country."
Clinton, who followed eight presidential contenders in addressing the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, cited limits on social spending imposed by the federal budget deficits under the Reagan Administration and said that "we can't promise miracles."
"The budget straitjacket we've gotten ourselves into . . . makes it irresponsible for a person to commit to any specific programs," he said. "That's one of the legacies of the last seven years."
Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois, who has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, also spoke to the mayors, calling for expanded urban aid and renewal of the $4-billion revenue-sharing program that ended last year. He said his record showed a strong commitment to cities.
Before adjourning, the mayors passed an "urban investment policy statement" telling their aims in the 1988 election--including reduced military spending, restoration of federal aid that was cut from cities, more spending to fight acquired immune deficiency syndrome and broader domestic programs.