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Clinton: Voters May Have Missed Hints

President Clinton said Friday that during the election campaign he had telegraphed the possibility that he would keep U.S. troops in Bosnia beyond their original withdrawal date, but he conceded voters may have missed his signals.

Defending the decision he announced Friday to retain American forces in the Balkan nation, the president said his hints before Election Day may have been lost because he and GOP challenger Bob Dole clashed so little on foreign policy.

Clinton, speaking to reporters at the White House before embarking on a 12-day trip to Hawaii and Asia, said he had been “clear before the election” that he would “consider American participation” in a prolonged international peace operation in Bosnia “if there were a clear mission with an achievable goal.”

Clinton said Friday that Dole’s expression of support during the campaign for a possible extension of the U.S. operation in Bosnia may have contributed to Americans paying little attention to the change in policy.