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Federal File: Clinton honored; Alexander's campaign

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President Clinton told schoolchildren in his home state of Arkansas recently that he would go to bat for education as members of Congress and his Administration seek ways to cut taxes and spending.

"What I want to do is to reduce taxes for people and to invest in the education of their children and their own training and skills so we can go forward and grow this economy," Mr. Clinton told students, teachers, and administrators at a new school that is the first named after him.

The President on Jan. 4 presided over the dedication ceremony of William Jefferson Clinton Elementary Magnet School in Sherwood, Ark., a Little Rock suburb. The school opened last fall with 651 students.

The school's media center is named after First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The school, which has a special focus on technology and speech, also has a room that houses memorabilia related to the Clintons.

Former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander finished a distant third in a Louisiana straw poll of Presidential aspirants.

Of 1,247 G.O.P. votes cast, Mr. Alexander received 58 votes, compared with 150 for Patrick J. Buchanan, a television commentator who ran in 1992, and 902 for Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tex.

Other potential candidates receiving votes included Jack Kemp, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary; Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, the majority leader; and Vice President Dan Quayle.

Mr. Alexander plans to announce his candidacy by early March.

He is also putting his campaign staff in place. Dan Pero, the campaign manager and chief of staff for Gov. John Engler of Michigan, will serve as Mr. Alexander's campaign director. Daniel Casse, the former policy director for the Project for the Republican Future, will serve as issues director. Mark Merritt, a former spokesman for Oliver L. North, an unsuccessful Senate candidate from Virginia, is set to be Mr. Alexander's communications director.

Bryan Flood, Mr. Engler's former press secretary, will serve in that capacity for the Alexander campaign, assisted by Dan McLagan, an aide to Mr. North, and Kevin Phillips, who worked for Mr. Alexander in the Education Department and on his Republican Exchange Satellite Network.

--Mark Pitsch

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