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DEFENDS PROSECUTION OF S&L FRAUD

Attorney General Dick Thornburgh on Sunday fired back at critics who say the Bush administration is not moving aggressively to ferret out savings and loan fraud.

"We're going after savings and loans crooks, whether they're Republicans or Democrats, North, South, East and West. And we've compiled . . . a very impressive record on that score," Thornburgh said during an appearance on the CBS-TV program "Face the Nation."

But Thornburgh couldn't say how many new indictments have been obtained since Bush took office in January 1989.

Thornburgh said Sunday that something "more important than the numbers" should be addressed, "and that's the commitment."

His comments came as Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady said it was time for Democrats and Republicans to stop trying to affix blame for the S&L scandal and concentrate on catching culprits.

Brady, appearing on ABC-TV's "This Week With David Brinkley" program, agreed with members of Congress who have said the focus should shift from fingerpointing to prosecuting S&L industry officials who violated the laws.

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