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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 19, 1998


The North Driveway

10:30 A.M. EST

MR. LOCKHART: Hello, everyone. I've just come from talking to the President -- I assumed that you'd all want some reaction from him, and I have that.

I think the President is very disappointed with the news he's heard from the Capitol today. He likes and respects Representative Livingston. He's enjoyed working with him. He thought he was an able Chairman of the Appropriations Committee over the last four years, and he looked forward to working with him on a bipartisan basis over the next two years to push an agenda for America forward.

As you all know, the President has always spoken out in very forceful terms about the politics of personal destruction, whether it's directed against a Democrat or whether it's directed against a Republican. I believe the President firmly believes that the politics of personal destruction in this town, in this country, has to come to an end, and it has to stop soon. And in that spirit, the President's wish is that Representative Livingston would reconsider the decision he announced on the floor today.

Q Livingston called on the President to resign.

MR. LOCKHART: The President, as we said, is going to do what's in the best interest of this country. He's going to keep on pushing his agenda forward. And I think that it would be wrong to give in to this insidious politics of personal destruction which seems so pervasive in this town now.

Q Did he call Livingston personally?

MR. LOCKHART: I don't think he's had a chance to talk to him personally.

Q Has the President thought about resigning?

Q But, apparently, Livingston thinks it's a lot of stuff that's coming out, more intrusive, and he feels it's the best thing for him to do. Why would the President want him to put himself through that?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think that, as I've said here, the politics of personal destruction needs to stop. We need to stop playing these kinds of games in Washington. You know the President has talked about this for years and he believes that it needs to stop. And his wish is that Representative Livingston reconsider.

END 10:35 A.M. EST