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Clinton names Lader ambassador to Britain, stands by Weld

July 22, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton nominated longtime friend and political supporter Philip Lader as U.S. ambassador to Britain on Tuesday.

The nomination has been expected since May, when White House officials said Clinton had chosen the South Carolina native pending a background check. Lader is a former White House deputy chief of staff and director of the Small Business Administration under Clinton.

He is best known as host of the annual ``Renaissance Weekend,″ a social seminar. Clinton has attended for years as Arkansas’ governor and as president.

If confirmed, Lader would replace William Crowe Jr., a retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The London post nearly always goes to a political appointee rather than a career diplomat.

Also on Tuesday, Clinton said anew that he would nominate Republican Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts to be ambassador to Mexico and ``work hard to see if we can confirm him.″

Weld’s nomination has been put in doubt by opposition from Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that has initial jurisdiction over the appointment.

Clinton was asked if he would rely on Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to work ``her wiles″ on Helms and win him over. The president replied with a chuckle, ``That’s better than I could have said it.″

Weld also received support Tuesday from Vice President Al Gore, who visited Boston to attend ceremonies promoting urban ``empowerment zones.″

``I love Governor Weld,″ Gore said. ``We’re fighting in his behalf.″

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