The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Ä An ''exasperated'' President Clinton failed to get the baseball settlement he wanted Tuesday as players and owners defied his deadline to end the strike.
Clinton immediately ordered negotiators to the White House, and there was speculation by union lawyers that he might try to pressure both sides into accepting binding arbitration.
The president's hand-picked mediator gave the owners and players his suggestions for settling the six-month dispute, but got nowhere.
Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and several White House aides then met with mediator W.J. Usery for 35 minutes in the Oval Office to hear an outline of his plan. Details of that plan were not disclosed to reporters.
''The president was exasperated that there was no progress toward settling the baseball strike,'' White House spokesman Mike McCurry said.
Neither side was willing to discuss what was in Usery's outline, but clearly it contained no major breakthrough.
''It's not something we are going to accept,'' one player agent said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
But management spokesman Rich Levin did say, ''We have not rejected them.'' Earlier in the day, the Republican leadership of Congress discouraged turning to Capitol Hill for a solution to the strike. Clinton has no legal power to end the strike, and would need Republican support to force either the terms of a settlement or binding arbitration.
With spring training due to start a week from Thursday, the strike appeared no closer to conclusion than when it began Aug. 12.
''We'll just have to see what they offer,'' Detroit's Cecil Fielder said.
The sides, who have warred in hotel after hotel for month after month, were to begin their White House sessions in the Roosevelt Room, probably with Usery, Labor Secretary Robert Reich and deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey.
Representing the players were Fielder, Atlanta's Tom Glavine, Pittsburgh's Jay Bell, Kansas City's David Cone, free agent Scott Sanderson, union head Donald Fehr and associate general counsel Eugene Orza.
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