Hard Sell

Clinton talks sweet but plays tough to bring Democrats in line with his economic plan

The son and stepson of salesmen, Bill Clinton can do the soft sell. And he can do the hard sell.

Senator James Exon got the velvet treatment last week, when the White House began to worry that the tightfisted Nebraska Democrat might not back the $5.7 billion extension of unemployment benefits that is the first step in Clinton's economic-stimulus plan. Clinton wanted the votes of all 57 Democratic Senators, and Exon, who had made it known in recent weeks that Clinton's economic plan cut too little from federal spending, was withholding support.

On the eve of the vote, Clinton invited Exon...

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