Now, voters expect `changes' // And USA is making its list

  Patricia Edmonds


  USA Today


  Page 04A

  (Copyright 1992)


  Voters' one-word ultimatum - CHANGE - evoked a two-word response: Clinton-



  Now, it's time to elaborate.


  The electorate that chose Gov. Bill Clinton and Sen. Al Gore is clearly restless,

  but hardly directionless.


  After giving President Bush and Vice President Quayle their walking papers,

  voters are ready to give Clinton and Gore marching orders.


  ``Sweeping changes,'' demands Tommy Bennett, 33, a housekeeper at a Chicago

  hospital. ``More jobs, better housing, better education.''


  Tuesday's election of Clinton and Gore - a choice of baby boomers, by baby

  boomers - made it clear that some issues no longer cut deeply as they might have

  a generation ago:


  - Admissions of marijuana-smoking, by both men.


  - Gore's service - and Clinton's lack of it - in Vietnam.


  ``People are willing to overlook those issues because we've come to realize that it

  will be impossible for anyone to get involved in public life if they're judged by

  everything they did in their youth,'' says Beth Wittcoff, 37, a homemaker and

  government activist in Southborough, Mass.


  Wittcoff did judge Clinton, and gave him her vote, based on other, present- tense

  issues. She wants ``new direction on health care, and public works programs that

  will put people back to work.''


  ``Everyone's saying how he has to make his move in the first 100 days, but I'm

  willing to give him more time,'' she says. ``You can't turn around 12 years of the

  Reagan-Bush administration in a few months.''


  Ask John Hilliard what he wants from Clinton-Gore, and he begins, ``I know

  what I don't want. I've seen it'' under Reagan and Bush.


  ``I don't want trickle-down economics, an indifferent environmental policy, an

  anti-feminist agenda ... and a humongous disregard for middle- class citizens,''

  says Hilliard, 24, who works at a coffee shop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.


  Hilliard wants Clinton to ``move very, very quickly on environmental issues. I'd

  also like to see him, with his wife's input, do more about women's issues.''


  Coffee shop patron Joshua Friedman, 25, chimes in that the young people

  Clinton and Gore inspired to vote will expect the new administration to improve

  their job outlook.


  ``There are lots of college graduates around here who can't get a job to pay off

  their student loans,'' Friedman says.


  Bonnie Maxwell, manager of a San Francisco employment agency, has watched

  jobs dwindle and salaries drop.


  ``It's going to take a while, and we have to go through a huge healing process,

  but under Clinton, things will be so much better,'' Maxwell says. ``People

  coming in today seem relieved.''


  Sonya Nash's first-ever presidential vote helped put Clinton-Gore over the top.

  But the next day Nash, 21, admits, ``I don't have my cheerleader suit on'' about

  the new team.


  ``I feel a little optimistic but also a little scared,'' says the Houston clothing store

  assistant manager. ``Because you have the feeling that once they're in office, they

  tend to be the same as the others.''


  Michael Elliott, a cobbler in Plantation, Fla., says Clinton can't act soon enough

  to address crises in the nation's economy and schools: ``As soon as the man takes

  office, he needs to instill new policies.''


  Los Angeles metal worker Kenneth Kneeler, 56, says Clinton ``should work with

  the new Congress, get rid of the gridlock. But what I want him to do and what I

  expect him to do are two different things.''


  He says his vote for Clinton was mostly a vote against Bush. But at least, he

  says, ``It's a change. And if we don't like him, we can get rid of him in four



  For Los Angeles actor Danny Portnoff, the need for change is so acute that ``I

  want to assume (Clinton) is the right man for the job.''


  Philadelphia carriage driver John Katulka agrees: ``Clinton has a rare opportunity

  - the people of this country are ready to accept just about anything he does



  But Katulka, who voted for Ross Perot, warns that change-hungry Americans

  may be short on patience. He urges Clinton to ``change things right away'' or risk

  the wrath of voters.


  Contributing: Kevin Johnson, John Larrabee, Jonathan T. Lovitt , Haya El

  Nasser, Lori Sharn, Deborah Sharp.


  CUTLINE:WHAT HE WANTS: John Hilliard, 24, who works at a coffee shop

  in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, wants Clinton to move quickly on the environment

  and women's issues, and think about the middle class. CUTLINE: Tommy

  Bennett, employee at Chicago hospital

  PHOTO;b/w,Tony Dejak,AP;PHOTO;b/w,Jonathan Kirn,AP