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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (San Francisco, CA)
For Immediate Release                                  February 26, 1998

Statement By The President

I am disappointed that the Senate Republican leadership today killed campaign finance reform. Given a chance to strengthen our democracy, an obstructionist minority instead chose to preserve the system of soft money and unlimited backdoor campaign expenditures.

I am pleased that all 45 Democrats and a majority of the Senate supported the bipartisan McCain-Feingold legislation. I will support their attempts to bring this legislation up for a vote again this session. Just as the need for change has not gone away, campaign finance reform will not go away.

In the meantime, I will redouble my efforts to push campaign finance reform through other means. I ask the members of the Federal Election Commission to take the step supported by a majority of members of the Senate, and ban soft money. And I continue to call upon the Federal Communications Commission to act to provide free or discounted airtime to candidates, and I will strongly oppose any efforts by Congress to block this reform. I believe these petitions offer us the most realistic hope for real reform this year.