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Clinton Woos Lawmakers

Members of Congress have agreed to put off a vote pushing for ground troops in Kosovo after President Clinton asked them to give the NATO air campaign more time to work.

Mr. Clinton summoned more than 50 members of Congress to tell them the air campaign must and will prevail, reports CBS Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley.

In the Rose Garden, Mr. Clinton said the bombardment is moving to a new level of force.

Â"Our campaign is diminishing and grinding down [Yugoslav President Slobodan] MilosevicÂ's military capabilities. We have reduced his ability to move, sustain and supply the war machine in Kosovo,Â" Mr. Clinton said.

Most lawmakers appeared to listen, but they also said NATO air strikes hadn't damaged Milosevic's military as much as hoped, according to briefings they received from Defense Secretary William Cohen and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Â"We're disappointed there hasn't been more done,Â" said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind. Â"General Shelton, Secretary Cohen, they're all disappointed about this, too.Â"

Clinton, the lawmakers said, urged patience. He emphasized that the air bombardment of Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 took 44 days. In that case, it also took a 100-hour ground war to end the fight.

Â"There is a general feeling in the Congress and among the American people that they had hoped for more success with the bombing or a quicker resolution,Â" said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. Â"I think, frankly, that was a pipe dream to begin with.Â"

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a 2000 GOP presidential contender, said the addition of new planes demonstrates a lack of success in the air campaign.

Â"To request an additional 300 aircraft three weeks into the war is not an indication that everything is on track,Â" McCain said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Still, Mr. Clinton told the lawmakers he is committed to the air campaign alone. The administration said emphatically Tuesday that there is no intention of putting combat troops on the ground.

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