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Clinton Chats With Harvard Profs.

By Elizabeth S. Zuckerman, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

On Jan. 7, 14 scholars attended a dinner with President Clinton, Vice-president Al Gore '69 and Hillary Rodham Clinton to seek their insights into the role of the U.S. in the global economy.

Among the scholars were Professor of Government Michael J. Sandel, Professor of Law Randall L. Kennedy, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, emeritus, Samuel H. Beer and Paula Rayman, director of the Radcliffe public policy institute.

"It was at the very last minute--they do them the day after New Year's and expect you to drop everything and be there," Rayman joked in a telephone interview last night. "I think most people would if they could."

The meeting was designed to contribute to Clinton's upcoming State of the Union Address which is scheduled for January 27, according to Sidney Blumenthal, assistant to the President in the department of communications, who moderated the event.

"The President sees the State of the Union Address as an opportunity not only to talk about specific policies but to give definition to our historical moment," Sandel said in an interview Thursday.

Clinton stressed the need to strengthen the role of the nation to the scholars.

"The President emphasized the role of the nation in equipping Americans to compete successfully in a global economy," said Sandel, who was participating in his second discussion with the Clinton administration.

Beer, who has made numerous visits to the White House, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Kennedy, who participated in a similar meeting at the White House last year, said he thought the discussion provided a productive forum for the thinkers to express an array of views to the President.

"It was an interesting, very vigorous conversation," he said. "The president and the vice-president are certainly careful listeners. They take lots of notes and ask lots of questions."

Rayman also said she was pleased with the tone of the evening.

"The dinner was characterized by a great amount of listening, respect and a very clear, clear absence of rancor or one upmanship or disagreement," she said.

Sandel and Kennedy noted that Clinton was particularly interested in the similarities between the nation at the turn of the century and today.

"The dinner as a whole had the tone of a good graduate seminar on the role of the nation in a global economy," Sandel said.

The discussion also touched on other aspects of Clinton's policy.

"People brought to the table their own areas of expertise. We brought passion to the issues we were concerned with," Rayman said, noting Kennedy's expertise in race relations and Sandel's examination of justice in the modern era.

Participants encouraged the president to continue his work incorporating a values agenda into the Democratic platform.

"Some take the view that the Democratic party should stick to economic issues, but many of us argued that the Democrats need to connect economics issues with values and that it would be a mistake to leave all discussion of values and the culture to conservatives," Sandel said.

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