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In a abrupt reversal from its stance just two months back, the Clinton Administration today announced a deal with General Motors that frees the auto maker from recalling five million pickup trucks alleged to be unsafe in some collisions. In return GM agreed to spend about $50 million in safety and research programs. The move is a 180-degree switch by the government: On October 17, Transportation Secretary Federico Pena issued a scathing attack on GM, saying that the trucks -- made between 1973 and 1987 -- present an unreasonable risk of fire in side-impact collisions since their fuel tanks are mounted outside the vehicle's frame. Today, Pena sang a different song: "Proceeding with the recall process would have taken years in court," he said. "During all that time, the trucks subject to this investigation would have remained on our highways." What brought about the change of heart? The anti-Clinton vote, says TIME writer Michael McBride. "There was no sense that this was going to happen. I think the Republican landslide had a lot to do with this."Post your opinion on theScience & Technologybulletin board.