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Americans’ Advice to Clinton: Do What You Said You Would

January 19, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ ″Keep your promises.″

Asked to offer one bit of advice to Bill Clinton the day before he becomes president, Americans repeatedly urged that he be true to his campaign rhetoric. Also: Keep smiling, and ″wear nicer ties.″

At a McDonald’s in Wausau, Wis., Kathy Smith was having breakfast with her 5-year-old daughter. She voted for Clinton and said she hopes now that he will ″be a man of his word. That’s why people voted for him, for the things he was promising.″

″Please, don’t become a typical politician,″ added Mattie Mixen of Lawrenceville, Ga.

In other cases, the advice of people questioned by The Associated Press was a bit more personal.

″Wear nicer ties,″ urged Leila Lugo, a clerk in a men’s clothing store in Dallas. ″Not something wild, but better than what he’s been wearing.″

″Keep that natural smile,″ said Melba Mauldin, a florist in Ardmore, Okla. ″Don’t let the presidency get to him and make him old and sour.″

″Stop talking about jogging and McDonald’s and gala hoopla and start talking about the issues,″ said Kelly Treadway, a 25-year-old retail manager in Pierre, S.D. Treadway said she hopes Clinton will seek outgoing President Bush’s advice.

″Take his daughter out of that private school,″ urged Andre Williams, a 17-year-old from Detroit.

″He needs to listen to Hillary,″ said Deun Shonowo, a clothing designer in Clinton’s home town of Little Rock. A very different view of the next first lady came from JoAnn Holbert of Harrisburg, Pa.: ″Speak more and shut Hillary up.″

Much of what Americans wanted to say to their new president was predictable. Farmers want better prices for their crops; the poor want more attention and so do the operators of small businesses. Most people want their taxes to go down rather than up.

Pay more attention ″right here at home,″ said Arnold Jones, 33, a supervisor at City Union Mission in Kansas City, Mo. But many people also echoed Dwaine Hibbs of Boise, Idaho, who urged Clinton, ″Don’t let that guy (Saddam Hussein) push us around.″

″Kick Saddam out,″ said William Curtis, 51, of Elizabeth, N.J. ″Don’t stop until he doesn’t exist anymore.″

On the other hand, Percy McClain of Detroit said, ″I don’t think he should follow the foreign policy of the current administration, going around the world blowing up folks.″

″Help the farmers,″ said Mae Justice, who operates a dairy farm with her husband Robert in Buncombe County, N.C. ″Get some expertise on what the farmers need,″ said Andrew Brevig of Herman, Minn.

″My advice would be to steady the course, not do anything in haste,″ said Ben Carson, 59, of Columbus, Ohio. But others urged Clinton to move quickly, especially on the deficit. ″Show the American people that he’s serious about the problem,″ said Judy Decker, of Toledo, Ohio.

Tom Galbraith, a graduate student at North Dakota State, has partisan concern for the first Democratic president in 12 years. ″Don’t screw up,″ he said ″because we’ll never get another Democrat in there if you do.″

″Counter the impression that is building up that he is not the comprehensive president that he claims to be,″ said Prof. Marcus Smith of Loyola University in New Orleans.

Dianne Zucker, who works at the YWCA in Hartford, Conn., offered as her advice the title of the Fleetwood Mac song that became the theme of the Clinton campaign: ″Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.″

For a different view, hear John Cook, a 33-year-old television producer from Orlando, Fla.:

″Lose the Fleetwood Mac song. I’m tired of it.″

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