Hours before President Clinton was to address the centrist Democratic Leadership Council -- a group he helped found, once led and used as a springboard to the White House -- the group's current chairman, lame-duck Oklahoma Rep. Dave McCurdy, hammered Clinton for apparently drifting leftward. "While Bill Clinton has the mind of a new Democrat, he retains the heart of an old Democrat," McCurdy told compatriots. "The result is an administration that has pursued elements of a moderate and liberal agenda at the same time, to the great confusion of the American people." (McCurdy, who got drubbed in a Senate bid this year, blames anti-Clinton sentiment.) But Clinton is trying hard to win back DLC support. He met with key DLC members this afternoon and addresses its 10th annual meeting tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET. TIME White House correspondent James Carney says Clinton's effort suggests he'll embrace some of the centrist issues put forth Monday in the DLC's 10-point alternative to the House Republican "Contract with America." The DLC's plan includes a line-item veto, deep budget cuts and big changes in welfare. White House officials tell TIME's Carney that Clinton will lay out his own initiatives in a major speech later this month -- rather than early next year, a more traditional time for such presidential pronouncements. Why? New GOP House Speaker Gingrich "will be active in early January, and they're worried that by the time Clinton speaks, it'll be an afterthought," Carney says.