At the end of a week focused on domestic violence, President Clinton called on the nation’s men on Saturday to pledge to “never, never lift a hand against a woman for as long as we live.”
Clinton, who as a youngster intervened to stop his stepfather from beating his mother, made the appeal “not just as a president, or a father or a husband, but also as a son who has seen domestic violence first hand.”
The president, in his weekly radio address, said the Republican Congress is bent on reducing the government’s domestic violence programs by $50 million, hampering “our efforts to protect battered women and their children, to preserve families and to punish these crimes.”
Clinton’s overall message appeared aimed at people upset at O.J. Simpson’s acquittal last week on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson has acknowledged he battered his wife during their marriage.
Monday, Clinton is set to address the racial divisions highlighted by the Simpson trial in a speech at the University of Texas in Austin.
The speech coincides not only with the debate over the Simpson verdict but with Monday’s rally of black men in Washington.
“I imagine he will address the need to bring Americans together and to shun those who advocate hate,” said White House press secretary Mike McCurry.
Although he is dealing with domestic violence and racial tensions, Clinton remains focused on his budget battle with Congress.
And in a speech Friday night in Williamsburg, Va., he appealed to the chief executives of the 100 largest U.S. corporations, all members of the Business Council, to broker an “honorable compromise” with the Republican Congress.
“The only thing I won’t do …, I will not let balancing the budget serve as a cover for destroying the social compact; for cutting back on education, wrecking the environment, or undermining our obligations to help protect our children and treat our elderly people decently, because it is not necessary to balance the budget,” Clinton said.
Delivering the weekly Republican radio address, Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico took exception to Clinton’s criticism of GOP budget cuts.
“America’s budget deficit is growing at a rate of $482 million a day but President Clinton won’t support the balanced budget plan because he says balancing the budget in seven years is too fast,” Domenici said. “It’s not too fast for the unemployed, or underemployed, who can’t get good work because of the deficit’s stifling effect on job creation.”
In his own radio address, Clinton noted his administration’s crime bill voted into law last year also included the Violence Against Women Act, which he said combines sanctions against abusers with aid to police, prosecutors and shelters.
“The real solution to this problem starts with us, with our personal responsibility and a simple pledge that we will never, never lift a hand against a woman for as long as we live,” the president said.