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Clinton Vow: Spread Prosperity

During his visit to the Mississippi Delta in his home state of Arkansas Saturday, President Clinton told a crowd in Helena, Ark. that he'll keep working to revitalize that area and others like it.

Mr. Clinton resumed his effort to attract business investment to economically depressed areas of the United States, and vowed to devote the rest of his term to spreading prosperity "to every place in America.Â"

Mr. Clinton said Helena is not benefiting from the millions of new jobs created during his administration.

"In the year and a half that I have left on my term I am going to do everything I can to bring more economic opportunity not only to the Delta but to every place in America that is not a part of what our country as whole is enjoying today," the president said.

Last month, Mr. Clinton made a four-day tour of poor areas of the country and encouraged businesses to tap into what he called the "new markets" that had been ignored within the United States.

"One of the things I've asked the Congress to do is to give people in America with money to invest the same incentives to invest in the poor communities in America that we give them to invest in poor communities overseas," Mr. Clinton said to cheers.

The unemployment rate in the Delta is twice the national average and incomes are less that two-thirds the national average, he said.

After speaking to the airport crowd, he spent time shaking hands and meeting people who he said helped him become president. The president then met privately with regional business leaders to discuss ways to encourage investment in the economically depressed areas.

Mr. Clinton sent a proposed $15 billion plan to Congress Thursday to invest in poor rural and urban areas over the next five years. The program was part of the budget proposal he submitted in February, but the legislation is still being drafted.

The domestic loan guarantee program called America's Private Investment Companies would be styled after the Overseas Private Investment Corp., which promotes emerging markets abroad.

During his weekly radio address, the president also committed to helping guide American kids all the way from the playground to the college classroom, reports CBS News Correspondent Sam Litzinger.

Mr. Clinton announced $120 million in grants aimed at helping kids get an education. But funding for "Operation Gear-Up," as itÂ's called, is threatened by a GOP-backed tax cut plan and heÂ's not happy about that.

"I donÂ't think we just decide on this big tax cut and just hope thereÂ's enough left over to pay for education and to save social security and Medicare and pay off our national debt," Mr. Clinton said.

During his weekend visit to Arkansas, Clinton was to attend a fund-raiser for Vice President Al Gore's White House bid. On Sunday, he was to address a National Governors Association convention in St. Louis before reurning to Washington.

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