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Clinton challenges GOP over budget plan

Published Oct. 9, 2005

President Clinton, promising "brutal honesty" in addressing the nation's economic and political problems, on Saturday assailed Senate Republicans who voted for budget cuts that he said impose unfair pain on the poor and the elderly.

In a commencement speech to Northeastern University graduates, Clinton said some lobbyists and lawmakers say, "

"More cuts, less taxes,' but no details, no details."

"Then when you look at the details, you find the details hurt the middle class, the working poor, the vulnerable elderly (and) do less to create jobs and ensure our world economic leadership," he said.

Saturday's speech, along with a pre-recorded radio address, followed a Senate Finance Committee vote Friday on Clinton's economic program that meets the president's demand for $500-billion in deficit reduction but alters his other priorities in significant ways.

The panel replaced his broad-based energy tax with a 4.3-cent-a-gallon fuel tax, reduced Medicare spending by an additional $19-billion and eased the proposed tax burden on the wealthy.

The bill still requires a vote by the full Senate and then will have to be reconciled with a markedly different version passed in the House.

Clinton declared that his administration has begun the task of revitalizing the nation's economy, but said: "We've got to finish the job."

He told the graduates, friends and family members who packed the Boston Garden arena that his responsibility is to create a better future for them. But he acknowledged that many would find it difficult to locate jobs in the stagnant economy. Clinton also used the Northeastern appearance to plug his national service program, which is designed to provide education grants in exchange for work on public service projects.

Clinton has a half-brother, "Washington Post' reports: President Clinton has a previously unknown half-brother born several years before their father met Clinton's mother, The Washington Post reported today.

The story in the paper's Style section is accompanied by photos of Clinton, the half-brother, Henry Leon Ritzenthaler, and their father, Bill Blythe, who died in an automobile accident several weeks before Clinton was born.

Ritzenthaler took his adoptive father's name, just as Clinton took his adoptive father's name.

Also printed is a copy of Ritzenthaler's birth certificate showing that he was born in Sherman, Texas, as Henry Leon Blythe, the son of W.J. Blythe and Adele Gash. The paper interviewed Adele Gash Coffelt _ the 75-year-old widow's married name _ at her home in California.

She told how she and Blythe were married when they were 17 years old, divorced after a few months, before conceiving Henry Leon Blythe.

The report says Adele Coffelt did not discover that the father of her son was also the father of Bill Clinton until a relative sent her a magazine clipping during the presidential campaign.

Ritzenthaler, 55, is retired from a janitorial service, the paper said. He said he has never heard from Clinton, but does not take offense.