White House Rejects Claim Clinton Led by Greenspan

from Associated Press

The White House moved quickly Saturday to reject a new book's characterization of President Clinton as following the lead of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on economic matters.

Robert E. Rubin, chairman of Clinton's National Economic Council, said the President "relates to Alan Greenspan the same way he relates" to other policy experts, by hearing their views and then making his own decisions.

"There was no question about where the buck stops and who was making the decisions," Rubin said.

The White House offered Rubin's comments to reporters after the Washington Post reported Saturday that a new book by Bob Woodward, assistant managing editor of the newspaper, depicts Greenspan as "a senior adviser, almost a teacher to Clinton."

"In what became a pattern, the Fed chairman made suggestions, Clinton acted on them, and Greenspan rewarded the action with approving words," the Post said in a story based on the book.

"The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House," goes on sale this month.

It says the early days of Clinton's presidency were marred by chaotic policy-making and a virtual war between his economic aides and four of his outside political advisers. It says Clinton pursued lower deficits at the expense of his campaign's economic populism on advice from Greenspan.

White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, traveling with the President in Europe, dismissed the book as "all process."

"I think the American people will judge President Clinton and his Administration on the basis of results," she said.

Presidential counselor David Gergen, also traveling with the President, jokingly said of the book: "So what's new?" Gergen said similar material had been written before.

But White House officials clearly were uncomfortable with the suggestion that Greenspan was influencing Clinton and set up a conference call between Rubin and reporters.

"The President is extremely well-grounded in these issues," Rubin said. "He came into office with a vision. . . . It's that strategy that we've been following."

Rubin said that while there were differences of opinion among Clinton's aides, they worked together in a spirit of goodwill.

"It's a story of a White House that has functioned extremely successfully with respect to these issues," he said. "A White House that is in chaos wouldn't have had that result."

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