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Ballot Box: New taxes?; Whittle man All talk?; Values

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In television interviews aired on successive days, Ross Perot told one questioner that he opposes raising federal taxes but told the other that he would raise them to increase education spending.

Mr. Perot, who is gearing up for an independent Presidential candidacy, told Barbara Walters in an interview that aired May 29 on ABC's "20/20'' that he is "absolutely against raising taxes'' to balance the federal budget. But he took a somewhat different stance in an interview that aired May 30 on CNN's "Both Sides With Jesse Jackson.''

"If we've got to cough up more, we cough it up, because this is very precious money,'' Mr. Perot said. "If you have to spend more to help these tiny little children become productive, successful, tax-paying citizens, it's the cheapest money you'll ever spend.''

Hamilton Jordan, the former Jimmy Carter campaign manager and White House chief of staff whom Mr. Perot hired last week to help run his campaign, has spent the past year working for Whittle Communications, the Knoxville, Tenn.-based firm that gained headlines with its "Channel One'' news show for students and its plans to launch a chain of for-profit private schools.

Mr. Jordan, who is one of several vice chairmen of the firm, has been involved mostly in book-publishing projects and has had little participation in Whittle's education ventures, company officials said last week.

He joined the firm in early 1991 as president of Whittle Books. He has taken a leave of absence to join the Perot campaign.

The day after President Bush previewed a report on reading, the apparent Democratic nominee, Bill Clinton, issued another attack on his rival's education record, arguing that an "education President'' should do more than urge parents to read to their children.

"If we had a President who put his money and his action and his head and his work where his mouth is, more people would follow his example,'' the Arkansas Governor said. "This President talks about reading, but he has reduced funding for literacy programs in the last two years, and his new budget reduces funding further.''

The Washington Post reported that aides distributed literature comparing Mr. Bush's education record with Mr. Clinton's as the Governor made the remarks at a California reception May 28.

Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary, got in a few jabs of her own May 29, when she delivered a commencement speech at Wellesley College.

Ms. Clinton, a 1969 graduate of the women's college and a nationally known children's advocate, charged that the Bush Administration has ignored the concerns of women and children while lecturing parents about "family values.''

Families under stress "don't need lectures from Washington about values,'' she said, but rather "understanding and a helping hand'' and "a sensible national family policy that reverses the absolutely unforgivable neglect of our children.''

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