The White House found itself in a familiar place today: on the defensive, denying that Clinton intends to support tax hikes or cuts in entitlement benefits -- as Republicans interpreted an Administration memo leaked Sunday to the Washington Post. The memo, prepared by OMB Director Alice Rivlin, listed revenue-raising options available to help Clinton raise money for deficit cutting and provide universal health care. But the G.O.P. quickly zeroed in on mentions of Social Security COLA adjustments, benefit reductions and payroll deduction hikes. Representative Newt Gingrich (Rep., Georgia) attacked, saying the memo reinforces the feelings of the American people that the Clinton Administration "is an enormous threat to their values, to their pocketbook, to their future." Today the White House was forced to come out swinging with Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, charging that Social Security and Medicare cuts "are the proposals of our opponents, not this Administration."Still, the damage is done, says TIME White House correspondent Michael Duffy. "The memo undercuts Clinton's argument that it's the Republicans who are trying to cut federal benefits," Duffy says. "It makes it somewhat more difficult (to send that message) on the campaign trail."