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President Clinton today fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, demanding and receiving her letter of resignation a week after she said children should be taught about masturbation. "There have been too many areas in which the president does not agree with her views," said White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. "This is just one too many." Panetta added that Elders, long a favorite target of conservatives for her outspoken defense of abortion, drug legalization and sex education, had been warned to temper her remarks, and "if she had not resigned she would have been terminated." The firing comes as Clinton continues to make moves designed to appear responsive to the public's perceived rightward shift. Accordingly, today's action drew approval from incoming House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who said, "It's good for the country and good for the president that she's departed." (The most prominent Elders defender so far, birth-control booster Planned Parenthood, said this afternoon that Elders had brought "a welcome dose of real-world wisdom" to Washington.)