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This President Is No Lame Duck

If there's a name President Clinton does not want to be branded with these days, it's "lame duck." Despite denials, reports CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller, he's been running a campaign of his own to this effect.

On July 14, Mr. Clinton said "I'm not running for anything anymore. I'm not on the ballot in 2000."

But the president is running for something: for his place in history, and his post-impeachment legacy. In his July 14 speech he even resorted to the same campaign slogan that helped him win the White House in 1992, "don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

It was seven years ago this month that Bill Clinton accepted his party's nomination for president. But now, with less that 18 months left to his presidency, he's putting the pedal to the metal in order to leave his mark on the scoreboard of history.

"I don't feel myself winding down, I feel myself keying up," he told reporters at a Wednesday press conference. "I want to do more. I want to try to make sure that I give the American people as much as I can every day. So I've got plenty of energy and I'll do whatever I'm asked to do."

And what he's trying to do is leave his mark with a package of activist proposals, all paid for with the money from 15 years of anticipated budget surpluses.

Mr. Clinton said, "We must decide whether to invest the surplus to strengthen America over the long-term, or to squander it for the short-term."

And that is why he vows to veto the big tax cut passed by the House this week. He needs the money for his programs.

According to Mr. Clinton, such cuts "would pile up $3 trillion in debt over the next two decades - right when the baby boomers start to retire. That's what it costs."

But policy matters aside, one question remains. Is the president giving any thought to what he'll do when this part of his life is over? On Wednesday CBS News Correspondent Bill Plante asked Mr. Clinton if he will run again for some office.

"I don't have any idea," he said, seemingly caught by surprise. "Really. I don't know. Let me just say this: I love this job. I love it. Even on the bad days, you can do something good for the country, and you can do something good for the future. I have loved doing this. And I have given it every ounce of my energy, ability and judgement."

What he's saying is that it's good to be president. This helps explain why he endured so many attacks and so much humiliation to hold onto the job.

Addressing the gathered reporters, Clinton continued, "will I miss a lot of the things about this job? Yes. I'll even miss all of you, believe it or not."

Miss the press? Nobody misses the press. Like Harry Truman, this president has learned that if you want a friend in Washington, you have to get a dog.

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