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‘Blue Dogs’ Bury Bone Of Contention

Liberal Democrats may be worried that President Clinton is drifting toward the political center these days, but you won’t find the “Blue Dogs” howling.

The coalition of of 22 conservative-to-moderate Democratic House members are “encouraged by what we see from the White House,” said Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn.

Tanner, speaking at a news conference here, pointed to the welfare overhaul that Clinton signed into law last week as one area in which the group had been influential.

“The far left and the far right - neither one liked it,” Tanner said, saying all the Blue Dogs voted for the bill.

He said the 22 have tried to keep a low political profile and concentrate on crafting public policy initiatives that they hope will appeal to people in all parties.

While its members are from all regions of the country, the group takes its name from the longtime Southern description of a loyal party member as someone who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the ballot as a Democrat. But the 22 decided to paint the dog blue, as if it were choking, to show their moderate-to-conservative views had been choked off over the past few years.

Among the Blue Dogs: Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa.; Rep. William Orton, D-Utah; Rep. Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, D-Ala.; Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.; and Rep. Charles W. Stenholm, D-Texas.

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