Clinton Takes A Quack at the Home Front

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Bill Clinton desperately wants to convince us he’s a duck with two good legs. "There will be plenty of time for politics in the months to come," he pleaded at a press conference Friday. "The summer should be a season of progress." With the war in Kosovo over and China in no mood for engagement, Clinton cited "renewed energy for the domestic agenda" and asked, essentially, for just a few more legislative shots at a non-Monica legacy before his time runs out. "America plainly is on the right track. But we will be judged by what we do with this opportunity -- whether we seize it or squander it in petty bickering and partisan animosity." So what are the chances that Clinton gets to clear his plate?

"Slim and none," says TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan. "That call for bipartisanship was made in a partisan way, and on the big stuff like Social Security and Medicare, there’s just too much work to be done." But the incremental President may have a shot at some small gains. "He’ll probably win again on taxes," says Branegan. "The Republicans are in too much disarray, and the clamor for broad cuts is still a lot louder on the Hill than it is with voters." Gun control is another possibility -- though Clinton is just as happy if that one pays off for Gore and the Democrats (Hillary included) next November. Likeliest scenario: The GOP, worried about 2000, gives a little and promises a lot. And Clinton keeps on talking -- Friday afternoon’s droning hour-plus press conference was just an appetizer -- and Al Gore heads into the imminent primaries with a very long wish list, courtesy of his frustrated boss.