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Enraged Democrats struggled to contain their sense of betrayal and abandonment by President Clinton even as Republican leaders applauded his proposed budget cuts. "There are pieces of what the President said that are eminently worth looking at," House Speaker Newt Gingrich said today, whileSenate Majority Leader Bob Dole, Clinton's potential 1996 rival, characterized the President's proposal as "the necessary and responsible thing to do." Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) andRep. John Kasich(R-Ohio), the chairmen of the Senate and House budget committees, met with Clinton aides on Capitol Hill to learn more about the President's zero-deficit plan. While the Republicans were praising Clinton, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and other Democratic leaders who had begged Clinton not to joinGOP calls for Medicare cutswere working hard to talk several comrades out of going public with anti-Clinton speeches. "This is their worst nightmare," says TIME congressional correspondent Karen Tumulty, who notes that Democrats who have been following the Clinton strategy ofattacking GOP cuts as cruelare now left empty-handed. As one House Democrat said of Clinton today: "I feel we've been walking the plank."