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The President's 'Bully Pulpit'

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IF indeed President Clinton has brought about a more-favorable public perception of his performance, Sept. 25 may be later cited as the moment when he began to turn things around.

The occasion was the Monitor luncheon at the White House, where the president admitted to having been through ''30 stormy months'' and then went on to say how things from now on would be different.

He said he would put an end to his presidency being ''defined'' by the Republicans in Congress. Instead, he said he would seize the initiative by using the ''power of the presidency,'' which he said he had been neglecting, to define his own presidency. He said he would do it the way Teddy Roosevelt had displayed his influence when he was in the White House - by using the chief executive's position as a ''bully pulpit.''

The president went on to say he would define his presidency by ''using the president's power to do things.'' Well, in the three months since he uttered these words, Mr. Clinton has done some things. He's championed the little fellow in the budget debate and thus raised public approval for his administration to new heights. And his resolute decision to send US troops into Bosnia - despite public opinion and much of Congress being opposed - has not eroded his overall public standing. Instead, a lot of people, even those who think he's wrong on Bosnia, seem to like a president who says this troop deployment is the humane thing to do and insists he's dead set on doing it.

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