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Clinton Gets John F. Kennedy Report

September 30, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton received a 208-page report Wednesday on the assassination of President Kennedy but the White House excluded reporters to prevent questions about possible impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky affair.

White House press secretary Mike McCurry said he did not allow press coverage in the Oval Office because he did not want to distract from a separate presidential appearance trumpeting the first balanced budget in a generation.

``We didn’t elect to make a photo opportunity open because we didn’t want the president sitting there answering questions about impeachment and other issues on a day when we were trying to put the focus on the surplus,″ McCurry said. ``Simple. That’s what we were doing.″

McCurry said that for the last eight months, ``It’s been Monica, Monica, Monica, Monica. And you know that and I know that. I mean, you can’t pretend otherwise.″

The burst of candor comes two days before McCurry steps down from his job as press secretary.

The report to Clinton was compiled by the Assassination Records Review Board, an agency created six years ago to ferret out every available fact about Kennedy’s assassination. The panel said the government ``needlessly and wastefully classified and then withheld from public access countless important records that did not require such treatment.″

McCurry said that because of the board’s work, 4 million pieces of information ``are now available to the American people that weren’t before.″

The report draws no conclusions to affirm or contradict the Warren Commission’s 1964 finding that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, was the killer.

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