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CUOMO PRAISES PRESIDENT ON GULF BUT SAYS BUSH MUST GET LAWMAKERS' OK TO ATTACK

Gov. Cuomo on Monday praised President Bush's handling of the Persian Gulf crisis but said the president must abide by the Constitution and get congressional approval before launching an offensive strike against President Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

At the same time, Cuomo said he did not know how he would vote on a war resolution if he were in Congress.

"I'd have to know more" about the situation, the governor said.

He offered his views on a wide range of federal issues in a luncheon appearance at the National Press Club.

But those who crowded the club's ballroom in hope of seeing the curtain raised on the 1992 presidential campaign had their hopes dashed.

At times, the governor sounded like a presidential candidate, but denied he is running and reiterated that he has "no plans to make plans."

Cuomo, who last summer urged Congress to defy the White House and raise taxes on the richest Americans, offered himself as a model of fiscal restraint.

Cuomo noted several times during a speech, a question and answer period and a press conference that he and the State Legislature cut the state's budget by $1 billion last weekend without increasing taxes.

"We took a billion dollars out of a $30 billion budget," Cuomo said.

"That's about 3.3 percent without raising taxes. If you did that with the federal budget right now, you'd get another $40 billion to $45 billion dollars (in budget cuts.) That's all you'd need," he said.

Actually, the deficit that the president and Congress face in the upcoming 1992 budget is estimated to be $250 billion.

Cuomo attacked the Reagan-Bush administration for cutting income rates while saddling the nation with $200 billion a year in interest costs on the national debt -- expenditures that "don't put a single computer in a school or fund a single meal."

The Republicans relied on the "failed economic fundamentalism of 50 years ago" while allowing the country to lag behind the rest of the industrialized world in education and in research, he said.

"And we're vulnerable because our addiction to foreign oil has driven us to the brink of war."

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