White House chief plans to axe Clinton's losing team

A SHAKE-UP in President Bill Clinton's senior staff is expected within a week, as the White House tries to improve the President's popularity before Congressional elections in November.

With only 40 per cent of Americans approving of Mr Clinton, according to the latest poll, the new White House chief of staff, Leon Panetta, is expected to change staff members who deal with the media. After returning from a twelve-day holiday in Martha's Vineyard yesterday, Mr Clinton is known to feel that he is the victim of hostility from press and television, who belittle his achievements. Dogged by allegations over business dealings and his sex life in Arkansas, he needs to rebut Republican attacks on his character.

Mr Panetta asked for broad powers to hire and fire when he was appointed, and is expected to seek changes in the White House communications staff. Among those under threat are Deedee Myers, the White House spokeswoman and Mark Gearan, the head of communications.

The White House fears heavy Democratic losses in Congress in November. This would make it more difficult for Mr Clinton to pass his domestic agenda before the 1996 presidential election. He is unlikely to salvage his health care package, intended to be the centre-piece of his presidency. So he needs to attack the Republicans as obstacles to reform.

Visits by President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, before November, will boost Mr Clinton's standing. He may be helped if the invasion of Haiti takes place and is a success.

No less than 52 per cent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr Clinton handles his job and only 40 per cent approve, according to a Time magazine poll. Some 40 per cent say they will vote for the Republicans in the Congressional elections and only 38 per cent for the Democrats.

The Democrats expect to lose three Senate seats and between 18 and 22 House seats, but the losses may be worse. Democrats are trailing in former safe seats. In Pennsylvania the election of Harris Wofford to the Senate in 1991 as an advocate of health care reform started a trend which won Mr Clinton the presidency a year later. This time, Senator Wofford's staff say Mr Clinton is a liability.

A shake-up in the White House may be the prelude to other changes. The most important would be the replacement of Warren Christopher as Secretary of State, probably by Walter Mondale, a former vice-president and now ambassador to Japan. 'The problem about Christopher,' said one White House aide, 'is that 30 years ago you could have a Secretary of State who was a negotiator pure and simple, but now you need somebody who looks and sounds forceful.'

A big problem for the administration is that the President and his wife do not like sharing power with anybody. This led them to appoint people of limited authority to key posts, such as Mr Clinton's old kindergarten friend, Mack McLarty, as chief of staff, and Mr Christopher.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried