June 1, 1995 in Nation/World

Clinton Visits Montana, Defends West Policies President Says He ‘Certainly Has Not Made War On The West’

Associated Press

President Clinton defended his Western policies Wednesday and accused Republicans of “demonizing” him and his proposals as he began a two-day swing through the West.

In a part of the country where paramilitary groups are active and where suspicion of the federal government is high, Clinton said: “Let’s deal with each other as neighbors.”

“We’ll find a way to give local control to people, but we’ll still do the right thing,” he told a rally at Montana State University. “We have got to stop looking for simple solutions to complicated problems. We have got to stop demonizing one another as Americans.”

Earlier, Clinton used similar language and applied it specifically to Republicans. “Republicans are brilliant at demonizing their opponents and convincing people that up is down and down is up,” Clinton said in an interview in Wednesday’s editions of the Denver Post.

“The fact is I certainly have not made war on the West,” Clinton said in the interview. “I have done my best to try to give the West a future and … give you the possibility of a strong economy and a strong environment.”

The president’s efforts to increase fees and restrictions on grazing, mining and logging on federal land have drawn bitter opposition from some Westerners.

Clinton also added to his schedule a meeting in Colorado Springs with National Park rangers and other federal officers who recently have been threatened by groups who view government officials, especially at the federal level, as a threat.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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