Clinton Keeps Reno at Justice; Daley, Richardson, Sperling get posts
Dec. 13, 1996
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton, completing more of his second-term team, today named Democratic activist Bill Daley of Chicago as secretary of commerce and globe-trotting Rep. Bill Richardson as United Nations ambassador.
He also ended weeks of speculation by announcing he had asked Janet Reno to remain as attorney general.
Daley's moment was marred by an unusual incident _ he collapsed from the stage moments after the appointments were announced at a news conference. He was helped off stage, but later returned to show he was fine.
Clinton also completed most of his economic team, selecting his longtime economic adviser, Gene Sperling, to chair the National Economic Council. ``I rely on him heavily,'' Clinton said.
The news conference came as Clinton neared the end of putting together his second-term team, which he has said he hopes to do by Christmas. Still to be filled: the departments of Energy, Labor, Housing and Urban Development and the head of the Council of Economic Advisers.
At the news conference, Clinton said the accomplishments of his first term were cutting the federal budget deficit, creating jobs and expanding trade. He said his new appointees would be ``the team that will build on our work.''
Daley, before his collapse, thanked Clinton and said, ``I come from a family in which we are taught by word and example that there is no greater calling than public service.''
He is the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Clinton called Bill Daley ``a man of rare effectiveness.''
The president also spoke on the role of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in his second term. The State Department has asked her to work on ``human rights around the world,'' the president said.
Clinton said the first lady also would continue her work on children, family and related issues.
On other matters, Clinton:
_ Declined to comment on recent remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan that sent stock markets into a frenzy. However, Clinton said, ``I'm proud of the vibrant markets we have. They will change. They go up and down. They always do.''
_Said that despite a proposal by his budget office to phase out home heating assistance for the poor, ``I have no intention of cutting home heating aid.''
_Promised ``a more serious effort'' to solve the financial problems of the nation's capital. He called the District of Columbia ``not quite a state, not quite a city, not quite dependent and not quite independent.''
_Said the budget he submits to Congress early next year would not include a cut in the capital gains tax, long a Republican priority. ``It is not part of my balanced budget because we have other priorities.''
_Made an impassioned plea to allow women to have a certain type of late-term abortion to protect their health.
_Took a middle course on whether the television industry's proposed show-rating system is adequate. Opponents say parents should know whether shows are objectionable because they include too much violence, sex or harsh language. Clinton said the industry's plan could be put in effect for 10 months and, after that, ``we'll see where they are.''
In a long night of personnel deliberations, Clinton met Thursday with Reno to ask her to remain in his Cabinet.
Clinton said she had accepted, as had Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human services and Carol Browner, head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Those three were not among the other Clinton second-term appointees who joined him for the announcements.
Clinton said he was keeping Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin on the job, calling him ``the captain of our economic team.'' He also said that budget director Franklin Raines, on the job for only four months, would remain.
And, Clinton made permanent the status of Charlene Barshefsky, who had been serving as acting U.S. trade representative.
Finally, Clinton named Dan Tarullo, now a deputy director of the economic council, as assistant to the president for international economic affairs, a new position.
Clinton said the current commerce secretary, Mickey Kantor, was returning to private life. ``I regret it very much,'' he said.
Clinton did not announce a candidate to replace Joseph Stiglitz as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, who had been considered the front-runner for the job, had decided to withdraw from consideration for personal reasons.
Sperling, 37, a former aide to former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has been a Clinton economic aide since the 1992 campaign. He succeeds economist Laura Tyson, who was returning to California.
Richardson and Daley are newcomers to the Clinton administration.
Richardson, 49, an eight-term New Mexico Democrat, has been playing unofficial American ambassador to rogue states since December 1994 when he negotiated the release of a U.S. airman whose Army helicopter went down in North Korea. He has since also helped captured Americans get out of Iraq and Bangladesh.
Richardson said that at the United Nations he would work ``to make U.N. peacekeeping better managed than it has been'' and would work closely with Congress ``to find a way to pay our bills.''
The United States owes the world body more money in back dues than any other nation.
Daley, 48, is a partner in the Chicago law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt. Daley has known Clinton since 1979, managed his successful Illinois presidential campaign in 1992 and helped the White House win congressional passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He is the youngest of seven children of the late mayor, Richard J. Daley.
With the Justice Department tied to several White House investigations, Reno's job status became a major issue in the transition to a second Clinton term. If she had left now, questions would be raised about whether she had been pushed.
Aides said Clinton had declined to discuss the situation publicly because he did not want to be accused of trying to influence Reno's decision on whether to request an independent counsel to investigate Democratic fund-raising.
She decided this month not to seek the outside inquiry but formed a Justice Department task force to investigate the allegations.