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CNN Today

President Clinton Expected to Address Rising Oil Prices, Increased Housing Project Violence, International Affairs at News Conference

Aired February 16, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: As we mentioned, President Clinton is about to hold his first formal news conference of the year.

CNN's Kelly Wallace joins us from the White House with a little preview of what we can expect -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, we have learned that President Clinton will address an issue that you all just mentioned, the rising price of home heating oil in the Northeast and the Midwest, when he comes to his first formal news conference later this afternoon.

Now, President Clinton has already released $175 million from the LIHEAP program, that's the low-income home energy assistance to help poor families hit hard by rising oil prices. And aides say that President Clinton will announce new steps this afternoon to help middle income families deal with these rising prices.

We also know that, just today, senators from the Northeast and the Midwest regions sent President Clinton a letter urging him to release the remaining $120 million in LIHEAP funding.

Now, on another issue: crime and gun control. President Clinton is expected to talk about the first ever comprehensive study done of gun violence at public housing projects. Now, the report found that, while crime is down, the 2.6 million public housing residents are more than -- are two times as likely as other Americans to become victims of gun violence. Mr. Clinton will use this report to renew his call for tougher gun laws, including a call for a law that would bring into a -- effect a background check for purchases at gun shows.

Now beyond that, Natalie, we are expected to get lots of questions from reporters on issues ranging from international affairs, such as the current peace process in Northern Ireland. We can also count on Mr. Clinton getting a few political questions about his wife's candidacy and also that bruising battle, the Republican race for the presidency.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: OK, Kelly.

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