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Clinton may be on TV tonight

President Clinton has tentatively scheduled a televised news conference for 8 p.m. today.

With Clinton's public approval ratings low, a formal East Room meeting with reporters tonight would follow an image-building blueprint reportedly designed by recently hired counselor David Gergen. Gergen served the Reagan administration in a senior public relations role.

After abruptly ending a news conference on the first question Monday, Clinton at Gergen's suggestion held a half-hour session Tuesday and answered questions at length Wednesday.

If the planned news conference is held tonight, it will be Clinton's fourth full-scale news briefing, and the first outside of daytime.

"It's an opportunity for him to continue to talk about his economic plan and other things that he's been working on," said press secretary Dee Dee Myers.

Observers had varied opinions on whether wooing reporters would aid Clinton's ratings.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said, "I don't think it's going to have one whit of an effect. . . . The problem isn't the press. The problem is policy."