(CNS) - In a 70 minute press conference Wednesday, President Bill Clinton attacked the GOP's 10 percent income tax cut for sacrificing other budget priorities; defended his decision to allow the Coast Guard to extend its search for John Kennedy, his wife, and her sister longer than would have been allowed in other plane crashes; and refused to rule out the possibility that he will run for office after he leaves the White House.
Clinton dismissed Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates concerning the impact of the tax cut on the federal that found it would have little effect, saying that the tax cut would require "huge cuts in education and defense, and would put nothing toward saving social security." Clinton added that the tax cut was "a financial risk-taking" that would add $3 trillion to the national debt over the next two decades.
Clinton also disputed CBO claims that his Medicare reform package would save $227 billion less than the Republican plan, calling that report a "very creative study," and claiming that in every substantial policy difference, "Our numbers have been right and [the CBO's] have been wrong."
Clinton also defended his decision to allow the Coast Guard to extend its search for the downed plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr., saying that he did it because "of the importance of the Kennedy family in our national lives and all they have suffered," and absolved the Coast Guard of any blame.
Concerning domestic politics, Clinton agreed with a USA Today poll that found that the majority of Americans wanted a change for Clinton administration policies, saying that change "is always desirable," but maintaining that Al Gore represented "the right kind of change."
Clinton defended his vice president as "a good man with a good record," and asserted that Gore has been the most active and influential vice president in American history.
Clinton denied that his legacy is a "mixed blessing" for Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton in their respective races in the year 2000, and said he would do "whatever it takes" to aid his wife's bid for the seat of retiring New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Clinton, however, refused to rule out the possibility he would seek some sort of elective office at some point in the future.
On international affairs, he recounted a recent conversation with Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat in which he assured Arafat of new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's "good faith" in implementing the Wye River Accords.
He also looked forward to an upcoming summit with European leaders to discuss the situation in the Balkans, saying that he does not believe " that we can achieve what we want in the Balkans and avoid future conflicts unless there is a unifying vision" agreed to by all parties, which ties the Balkans together and brings them closer to Europe as a whole.