- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2000

MONROE, Mich. President Clinton, who had a weakness for McDonald's when he first took office but later resisted fast food, came full circle yesterday by heading for the golden arches after anointing his successor.
Mere moments after hugging Vice President Al Gore and leaving him alone onstage in a symbolic passing of power, Mr. Clinton made a beeline for the local McDonald's and ordered a cholesterol laden meal.
When the president pulled out a wad of $20 bills to pay for his crispy chicken sandwich, french fries and Diet Coke, the young clerks refused his money.
"It's on the house," said a teen-age girl as she pushed the bills back to Mr. Clinton. "They didn't tell you?"
She added: "Unless you want to give tips."
The president slid a bill that appeared to be $20 across the counter and said: "You guys go out and have some fun."
For a president who promised to lay low so that Mr. Gore could command the spotlight for a couple of days, Mr. Clinton made quite a splash in his new role as slumming second banana. He brought his daughter, who informed an amazed patron that she is a vegetarian "health food freak" before ordering an ice cream cone.
One excited man called Chelsea by the name Hillary, who was also in the restaurant. Another scanned the room for Mr. Gore's new running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.
"Where's Lieberman?" the man said. "Is he not around?"
To top things off, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton posed for pictures with restaurant employees behind the counter.
"He was pretty cool," concluded Girl Scout Lisa Zebarah, 13, as she licked an ice cream cone. "I was shocked he came in here."


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