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President says "evil act' won't spoil Games

President Clinton told a stunned nation on Saturday that the "evil act of terror" that killed a woman in a bomb blast in Atlanta will not halt the Olympic Games or their world-bridging spirit of sportsmanship.

The bombing at an open-air concert in Centennial Park near downtown Atlanta, which wounded more than 100 people, came just 10 days after the explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800. Clinton called it "an act of cowardice that stands in sharp contrast to the courage of the Olympic athletes."

The president, who was up most of the night receiving reports from the Olympic city, told Americans that those responsible deserve the death penalty.

"I believe that people that deliberately kill other people, particularly under circumstances that demonstrate this kind of cowardice . . . deserve capital punishment, I certainly do," the president said.

"I want to make clear our common determination: We will spare no efforts to find out who was responsible for this murderous act," Clinton said.

"We will track them down, we will bring them to justice, we will see that they are punished," the president said.

"We are all agreed that the Games will go on. We will take every necessary step to protect the athletes and those who are attending the Games."

He added: "A vicious act of terror like this is clearly directed at the spirit of our own democracy. It seeks to rip also at the spirit of the Olympics.

"But we must not let these attacks stop us from going forward. We cannot let terror win _ that is not the American way. The Olympics will continue. The Games will go on. The Olympic spirit will prevail. We must be firm in this. We cannot be intimidated by acts of terror."

In his address, Clinton expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and praised security officials for their work in spotting the bomb and alerting the crowd.

Clinton said new measures would be added to a security effort that he said is already the most extensive ever put in place for the Olympics.

White House press secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton is considering another visit to the Games to reassure people that he is confident in the security measures.

The president placed phone calls to leaders of Congress and to GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole to brief them on the incident, McCurry said.

In the weekly Republican radio address, Dole referred to both the Atlanta and TWA incidents and said: "For the second time in two weeks, we find ourselves mourning the loss of innocent life. We must make a very public pledge: We will find the perpetrators, we will stop them, we will punish them, and we will never surrender to their terror.

"This we resolve not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans."