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Federal File: Deduction ultimatum?; In Kato's footsteps

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President Clinton has hinted that he will not sign a tax-cut package unless it includes a deduction for postsecondary-education expenses.

"Tax cuts must include a deduction for the cost of college or other education after high school," Mr. Clinton said in a radio address April 16.

At a news conference last week, he said, "The tax cut should be targeted to the middle class and to education so we raise incomes and growth for America over the long run."

The President also said at the news conference that he would "go to the mat" for Dr. Henry Foster, his embattled surgeon general nominee, who has run into opposition because of his record on abortion.

Earlier in the week, Bob Dole, R-Kan., the Senate majority leader, threatened to keep the nomination from coming to a vote even if the Labor and Human Resources Committee approves it.

Lamar Alexander, the former secretary of education who is seeking the Republican Presidential nomination, acknowledged last week that many potential voters still do not know his name.

A self-proclaimed "Washington outsider," the former Governor of Tennessee said he is inspired by Brian (Kato) Kaelin, the actor and former house guest of O.J. Simpson who rose to fame after testifying at Mr. Simpson's murder trial.

"No one had heard of him two weeks ago, and now he has fan clubs," Mr. Alexander said.

Veering from his stump speech calling for a leaner government, Mr. Alexander took jabs at the Washington press corps for writing so much about the red-and-black flannel shirt he wore when he announced his candidacy. It was a throwback to attire he donned years ago, when he walked across Tennessee as a gubernatorial candidate.

"Someone wrote my shirt was not fit for a possum-skinning," Mr. Alexander said. "I went out and bought 12 more."

On a more serious note, Mr. Alexander said he will not reveal his abortion platform any time soon, despite criticism he has received for failing to take a stand on the issue.

Speaking April 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, Mr. Alexander said the abortion debate would overshadow other issues.

"I'll be glad to discuss my position later, but not right now," he said.

--JULIE A. MILLER & Robert C. Johnston

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