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Faculty Advise Clinton

By Jerome Mccluskey

While many in the University watched President Clinton's State of the Union address, three Harvard professors had an active hand in crafting it.

Dillon Professor of International Affairs Robert D. Putnam, Law School Professor Randall L. Kennedy and DuBois Professor of the Humanities Henry Louis Gates advised Clinton while he was writing the speech earlier this month.

The professors were invited to a White House dinner with other scholars from around the country to discuss issues with Clinton.

"Two weeks ago, the President invited a group of 10 of us," said Putnam.

Kennedy and Gates were unable to be reached for comment.

Clinton had contacted Putnam earlier after reading his article, "Bowling Alone," which appeared two years ago in the Journal of Democracy. Last year, the President invited Putnam to Camp David to talk about the 1995 State of the Union.

"Bowling Alone" discusses the growing alienation and breakdown of the American community. At the dinner this month, Putnam again advised Clinton to speak on the issues of community rebuilding.

"I and other people told him that we thought he should strike a note of community engagement," said Putnam.

Putnam's advice appeared to bear fruit last night as President Clinton stressed grassroots action and civic involvement in last night's address.

"I urged that he lay out a vision for the next century and speak about the kind of changes in government that will involve a partnership with communities," Putnam said.

Putnam said he was grateful for the chance to advise Clinton.

"It's nice to have a feeling that what we do as scholars has practical applications," said Putnam.

Clinton spoke on issues as varied as the need for bipartisan agreement for a balanced budget, an educational technology initiative, welfare reform, and an enhanced crime bill.

While most others in the Harvard community were unable to participate actively in crafting the State of the Union address, many did turn up last night at the Kennedy School's ARCO Forum to watch.

In the packed forum, nearly 300 people crowded to see Clinton's speech. While the response was mixed, noted by the varying ebbs of applause and whispers in the audience, many believed there were no surprises in the speech.

"I think it was interesting but it was sort of expected," graduate student Carlos E. Rodriguez said.

While many in attendance noted the wide range of topics in the speech, several applauded the quality of the text.

"I thought it was a good speech," said Solomon S. Rutega, a first-year student at the Kennedy School. "It was a well-crafted speech and it covered all the issues expected.

"Bowling Alone" discusses the growing alienation and breakdown of the American community. At the dinner this month, Putnam again advised Clinton to speak on the issues of community rebuilding.

"I and other people told him that we thought he should strike a note of community engagement," said Putnam.

Putnam's advice appeared to bear fruit last night as President Clinton stressed grassroots action and civic involvement in last night's address.

"I urged that he lay out a vision for the next century and speak about the kind of changes in government that will involve a partnership with communities," Putnam said.

Putnam said he was grateful for the chance to advise Clinton.

"It's nice to have a feeling that what we do as scholars has practical applications," said Putnam.

Clinton spoke on issues as varied as the need for bipartisan agreement for a balanced budget, an educational technology initiative, welfare reform, and an enhanced crime bill.

While most others in the Harvard community were unable to participate actively in crafting the State of the Union address, many did turn up last night at the Kennedy School's ARCO Forum to watch.

In the packed forum, nearly 300 people crowded to see Clinton's speech. While the response was mixed, noted by the varying ebbs of applause and whispers in the audience, many believed there were no surprises in the speech.

"I think it was interesting but it was sort of expected," graduate student Carlos E. Rodriguez said.

While many in attendance noted the wide range of topics in the speech, several applauded the quality of the text.

"I thought it was a good speech," said Solomon S. Rutega, a first-year student at the Kennedy School. "It was a well-crafted speech and it covered all the issues expected.

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