Gov. Bill Clinton, D-Ark., chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council and rumored presidential candidate, said he learned about politics from former Utah Gov. Scott M. Matheson.

Speaking Friday night at the Hinckley Institute's Annual Leadership Conference at the University of Utah, Clinton said he agrees with the late Matheson's belief that the purpose of politics is to solve problems and make progress."This country is gripped in a fantasy world where it has become unacceptable to admit we have problems and take steps to solve them," he said. "I hope the recent war in the Persian Gulf will give us the confidence to face our problems at home."

The government needs to better its health care and job programs in order to compete with other nations, Clinton said. It also needs to reform education programs and work on a better budget system that divides the federal budget, spending "only what the people earn and give us," he added.

The government needs to stop addressing the "bogus issues" that only appeal to people's emotions and to instead focus on issues that are realistic and relevant to the future of the United States, he said. "That's what Scott Matheson did in Utah and that's what we need to do today."

Clinton has been elected Arkansas' chief executive on five occasions, first gaining office in 1978 at the age of 32. He was re-elected in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1990, with Arkansas switching from two-year gubernatorial terms to four-year terms in 1986. When his current term ends in 1995, Clinton will have served 14 years, earning the self-described title of the "grand 'ol man of governors."

Scott Matheson Jr. said Clinton's possible candidacy for the presidency is "almost like Utah's Olympic bid - it's bound to happen sooner or later."