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In the briefest national speech of his career, President Clinton took just five minutes tonight to present the nation with the outlines of anew plan to balance the budget and eliminate the federal deficitwithin ten years. While offering to cut most discretionary spending programs by 20 percent, the President saidhe would not cut education or health services for the elderly. Other priorities:give tax cuts only to the middle class, not to upper-income Americans, protect services for poor children while cutting welfare, and target fraud and waste in federal programs to achieve savings. In an equally terse response for the GOP, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said that while he was encouraged by the President's newfound willingness to work with Congress to eliminate the deficit, he strongly disagreed with Clinton's determined effort to preserve federal programs that Republicans would eliminate.Jay Carney, TIME White House correspondent, reports: "The President made a very strong case tonight for a place at the table, after having been completely irrelevant to the budget process. He accepted the fact that theGOP has created the momentum for a balanced budget. His message was basically 'Yes, but I can do it better, with less pain.' In moving so swiftly to compromise, though, he is opposing the majority of the Democratic leaders in Congress." Some Democratic leaders today accused Clinton of surrendering just as Americans were becoming frightened about the scope of the GOP budget cuts. An angry David Obey (D-Wisc.) said tonight: "If you can follow this White House on the budget, you are a whole lot smarter than I am." As he did in the NAFTA debate, Clinton has rushed into the arms of the Republicans in a very partisan debate. Says Carney: "The problem is that he may be too late. He may still be irrelevant."