THE GOP RESPONSE . . . BILL'S LATE AT THE GATE

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Congressional Republicans chose one of their new faces -- Tennessee Sen.-elect Fred Thompson -- to welcome Clintonís embrace of tax cuts, and to tweak him for jumping on a GOP-led train two years into his presidency. "Until a few weeks ago, (Democrats) were saying we didnít even need a tax cut," Thompson said, after enumerating similarities with his Partyís 10-point "Contract with America." He told November supporters: "Your vote got the presidentís attention." Thompson offered one more parting barb at Clintonís new concoction: "We must do more than just reshuffle a few agencies and take money from one place to fund something else "