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Lawmakers and civil rights advocates rejected President Bush's proposed compromise on the Civil Rights Act of 1990 as a cynical political ploy. But President Bush's critics conceded that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to override a veto of their bill. The president said he would issue the veto, the 16th of his administration. He has yet to be overridden.

Bush proposed the compromise late Saturday. Laura Melillo, a White House spokeswoman, said: ``The president feels that once Congress reviews his bill, it will pass it. The president wants a civil rights bill.''

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But Ralph Neas, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, called Bush's compromise bill ``a cynical coverup for tomorrow's devastating presidential veto.''

Voicing the sentiment of many on Capitol Hill, Mr. Neas said, ``The so-called compromise is dead on arrival.''

A Bush veto of a civil rights bill would certainly hurt him in the black community. Recent polls show that Bush's initial approval rating of more than 70 percent among blacks has declined to about 45 percent.

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