Clintons Have Sent Socks Packing!!!

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Mon Oct 22 00:10:10 MDT 2007


 From The Sunday Times
October 21, 2007

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

Socks the cat

Sarah Baxter

<>See Clinton's video webpage

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.

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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 laborador, it should be 
noted, bounded into a road soon after leaving the 
White House and was promptly run over.)

Despite these misadventures, Peggy Noonan, 
President Ronald Reagan’s former speech-writer, 
believes Clinton is doing a good job of 
humanizing herself. “I am not saying she has 
learnt to be herself,” she observed. “I think 
after a year on the trail she has learnt how not 
to be herself, how to comfortably adopt a skin and play a part.”

Clinton has been coming up with some teasing 
one-liners, telling trade unionists “I'm your 
girl” and laughing on daytime television about 
the differences between her and her male rivals: 
“Well, look how much longer it takes me to get ready.”

At another event, she joked about how the other 
candidates were focusing on her. “I didn't know 
what to make of it, and then a friend of mine 
said, ‘You know when you get to be our age, 
having that much attention from all these men . . .”

It is a disarming tactic, which her rivals are 
finding difficult to counter without appearing 
unchivalrous. But the outline of a “stop Hillary” 
campaign is taking shape, with critics accusing 
her of being an inexperienced, flip-flopping 
opportunist who owes her success purely to dynasty.

Rudy Giulianni, the Republican front runner, has 
sharpened his attacks on Clinton for lacking 
experience. “She’s never run a city, she’s never 
run a state, she’s never run a business, she has 
never met a payroll,” the former New York mayor 
said. “She has never been responsible for the 
safety . . . of millions of people.”

He has gone after Clinton’s tax-and-spend 
policies, including an uncosted suggestion that 
every newborn child should receive a $5,000 “baby 
bond” that would grow over time and help pay for 
college. The last Democratic candidate to propose 
a similar scheme, George McGovern, lost 49 out of 
50 states in the 1972 election.

Soon after Giulianni went on the warpath, Clinton 
discovered she had other priorities and shelved the idea.

Barrack Obama, Clinton’s closest Democratic 
rival, has begun to criticize her more directly, 
claiming last week: “We've had enough of . . . 
triangulation and poll-driven politics.” In one 
such example, Clinton backed a Senate resolution 
calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a 
terrorist organization, earning rebukes from 
Obama and John Edwards, the third-placed 
candidate. She then co-sponsored another 
resolution that would prohibit an attack on Iran 
without authorization from Congress.

The financial sleaze that dominated the final 
Clinton years is also making a comeback. After 
Norman Hsu, one of Clinton’s biggest campaign 
“bundlers”, was exposed as a fraud, it emerged 
last week that waiters, dishwashers and street 
pedlars in New York’s Chinatown have been handing 
over $1,000 and $2,000 sums to her campaign – 
some with genuine pride, others because they were 
ordered to do so by neighborhood bosses.

Clinton said last week that her front runner 
status made her uncomfortable. “It makes me 
nervous and we will still work to earn every vote,” she said.

But the advantage she enjoys with women is 
considerable. Penn believes the “emotional 
element” of being the first woman presidential 
nominee in history will “throw the Republicans 
for a loop”. So far every attack has bounced off her.

Perhaps the cautionary tale of Socks the cat will 
make a difference. “Hillary’s insistence that we 
follow her example in pet ownership, when she 
really should be on Cat Fancy’s Most Wanted List, 
makes her a tiresome bore,” Flanagan writes.

“But exploiting the emotions of good-natured 
people – well, that’s just another example of her 
three-decade-long drift from the girl she once 
was to the woman that circumstance and ambition have made her.”
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