Nervous Democratic congressional leaders, not jittery White House staffers, were responsible for President Clinton' abandonment of a plan to let House members grill him directly about his new economic plan. Clinton had thought that a parliamentary-style question period might help sell the tax-and-spending package. But House Speaker Thomas S. Foley told the White House that he thought the plan was too novel to try without a lot of thought. "It's an interesting concept," says Foley. "It's not something that's going to this time." The leadership's big fear: Republican firebrands would seek to embarrass Clinton. Using a favorite Washington delaying tactic, Foley promises a study that might clear the way for a Presidential appearance sometime in the indefinite future.

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