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The Clinton administration's attempt to start a five-year anti-drug ad program with $875 million in tax money matched by $875 million in media donations seemed to get a tentative nod of approval in its first hearing in Congress.

Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury-Postal Service, while asking numerous questions of retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, expressed some willingness to OK the approach.

"It seems reasonable to try advertising . . . to give you a chance," said U.S. Rep. Carrie P. Meek (D., Fla.).

The $175 million President Clinton is proposing be spent on anti-drug ads each year would be the government's No. 2 ad program.

Gen. McCaffrey told the panel the paid ads would be targeted to reach 90% of 9-to-17-year-olds and their parents four times a week on prime-time TV, as well as radio, with outdoor and newspaper support in some areas.

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