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Dumped Cat Comes Back To Bite Hillary

From the UK’s Sunday Times:

Socks the cat peers over the podium in the White House briefing room in this March 19, 1994 photo.

Ouch! Hillary Clinton’s softer image is clawed over dumped cat

by Sarah Baxter
October 21, 2007

AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today?

Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.

Some believe the abandoned pet could now come between Hillary Clinton and her ambition to return to the White House as America’s first woman president.

Clinton has been boosting her prospects in the past week with some homespun references to her gender as part of a series of events with the theme Women Changing America, during which she chatted girlfriend-to-girlfriend and mom-to-mom with female voters.

The softening of Clinton’s image seems to be working. Her chief strategist, Mark Penn, predicts that up to a quarter of Republican women will vote for her. She leads Democratic rivals in the polls by 26 points and is scooping up more donations to her war chest from Wall Street and defence contractors than any candidate from either party – an unmistakable indicator of who they think will win in 2008.

Clinton’s treatment of Socks cuts to the heart of the questions about her candidacy. Is she too cold and calculating to win the presidency? Or does it signify political invincibility by showing she is willing to deploy every weapon to get what she wants?

“In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list,” writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. “But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference.”

Flanagan’s article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleasing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his “toy mouse” did the White House “become a home”.

Being Clinton, she also lectured readers that pets are an “adoption instead of an acquisition” and warned them to look out for their safety. (Buddy, the chocolate labrador, it should be noted, bounded into a road soon after leaving the White House and was promptly run over.) …

Bear in mind that Sock was with the Clintons going back to their Arkansas days.

And behold the publishers description of Hillary’s book, “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy,” written when they were both still useful political props:

Dear Socks, Dear Buddy

Description

In her warm and engaging text, Mrs. Clinton suggests ways parents can help their children initiate and enjoy the experience of writing and receiving letters, sharing her family’s (and pets’) experience, and explains how letters to Socks and Buddy are received, sorted, and answered at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home.

Mrs. Clinton gives a brief “pet history” of the White House, from Dolley Madison’s parrot and Teddy Roosevelt’s children’s menagerie to the Bushes’ English springer spaniel Millie. She also talks about the ways Socks and Buddy participate in White House life, such as greeting guests and visiting hospitals and nursing homes.

Fans of the First Pets will be delighted by a section on their vital statistics (Socks’ tail length: 1 foot; Buddy’s snout length: 5 inches) and answers to the questions most asked by correspondents (“Do you have room service?”).

The chapter I would especially enjoy perusing right now is the one titled: Socks and Buddy’s Guide to Good Pet Care.

Of course, if you read Mrs. Clinton’s forward to the book, which is available online, you will see that she only ever thought of these animals as propaganda tools.

She is in awe at how much mileage past Presidents got out of their pets

But mind you, this is a woman who only had a child because she was advised to do so by her political handlers.

That Hillary Clinton is all heart.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, October 21st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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