NATION : Bennett Upbeat on Drug Czar Role

<i> From Times wire services </i>

William J. Bennett took office today as the nation’s first anti-drug director and promptly dismissed the notion that his job to combat the country’s illegal narcotics problem will prove impossible.

“I didn’t take this job to sit and stalemate,” said Bennett, flanked by President Bush and members of Bush’s Cabinet, which the President pledged would work “shoulder-to-shoulder” in the anti-drug effort.