Bentsen on the Burner

His influence rides on winning the votes of his old Senate colleagues for Clinton's battered budget

At early meetings, most of Bill Clinton's Cabinet members addressed one another as Chris or Les or Donna. But Lloyd Bentsen they called "Mr. Secretary." It was an appropriate gesture of respect for the Treasury chief's age -- at 72, he is old enough to be the grandfather of some of Clinton's younger aides -- and experience. Bentsen began attending insiders' meetings more than 40 years ago; as a young Congressman, he sat in on some "board of education" gatherings at which "Mr. Sam" Rayburn and House colleagues shaped legislative strategy over belts of bourbon.

. Clinton, however, has been less...

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