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Reno Says 'No' To Independent Counsels

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Vice President Al Gore -- Dec. 2, 1997


GORE: ... a full and independent review, we can put this issue of the phone calls behind us once and for all.

And I'll wait until the -- until that announcement finishes. As I was saying, I'm very pleased by the decision. Now that there's been a full and independent review, this issue of the phone calls can be put behind us.

The president and I will continue to focus on the priorities of the American people as we have been doing. Just in the last six months, we have produced in America the lowest employment in a generation. Five million more children have received health insurance who had been uninsured. We've balanced the budget.

This is the kind of work that we've been focused on, and we will continue to focus on these priorities.

As for the decision just announced, as I said, I'm very pleased by it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) public spat between the director of the FBI and the attorney general in recent days, publicly disagreeing about this investigation.

Does the president and do you personally still have confidence in the FBI director? Do you think he's handled himself appropriately here?

GORE: I've had a productive and appropriate working relationship with him. And -- but this was the attorney general's decision, and she is fully entitled to seek advice and opinions from anybody she wishes to in the Justice Department and then make the decision as she has the responsibility to do under the law. And that's what she's done.

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, the attorney general stated that although there would be no independent counsels, the campaign task force will continue and no one has fully been exonerated. How do you explain that?

GORE: Well, I think that it's obvious that the people in the Justice Department are going to continue to review any facts that they ought to review with respect to both political parties.

But what we ought to -- what the rest of us ought to focus on is campaign finance reform.

Now, even though this legal question has been -- involving the phone calls has been put behind us once and for all, bear in mind that in the days and weeks and months ahead, there will continue to partisan attacks, politically motivated.

And just keep one thing in mind: The same people who are making the partisan attacks are the ones who are blocking campaign finance reform. The focus ought to be on passage of meaningful campaign finance reform, and as I said before, on the priorities that the American people want to see pursued such as the ones I mentioned -- continuing to build a strong economy, protecting the environment, improving education that we focused on here in this middle school today here in Connecticut, and the other issues that are occupying our time.

We're just going to keep moving forward to try to address these priorities in a responsible and productive way. That's what our work is all about.

Thank you all very much.

Copyright © 1997 Federal Document Clearing House

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