- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2000

ALBION, N.Y. Maybe it's no big deal elsewhere, but it's all the buzz in Albion.
Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped into the Village House, a favorite diner in this upstate farming town, and ordered two orders of scrambled eggs, home fries and rye toast. So far, so good. The locals appreciate a hearty appetite.
Her breakfast was on the house, and when she left the waitress, a single mom, found not a penny at her plate.
The locals have been talking about little else since Tuesday, when she stopped for breakfast after making a speech about how New York's farmers "are really hurting these days."
Says Linda Ellis, a regular who voted for President Clinton and says she might vote for the first lady: "It's the little things you have to look at in a political campaign.
"She is the first lady, but it doesn't feed her son," she said. The waitress, who makes less than the minimum wage and pays for her own health insurance, deserved a tip, she said.
Mrs. Clinton, who once declared a 15-cent income-tax deduction for a pair of her husband's undershorts that she had donated to charity, had dropped into the diner, halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, along with a dozen reporters in her motorcade.
It was her first public event since beginning her "official" candidacy Sunday at Purchase, N.Y., near her new $1.7 million Westchester County home. Mrs. Clinton, the beneficiary of extensive contributions from unions, is pushing to raise the minimum wage and make health insurance affordable.
"She had two servings of eggs," said restaurant owner Alex Mitrousis. At first, she just ordered oatmeal to go but then she ordered scrambled eggs, home fries and rye toast. After she ate that, she ordered "two scrambled eggs with cheese," he said. "We're going to call it the first lady's special," he said.
One order of "two large fresh eggs" with toast and ham, bacon or sausage costs $2.75.
Mr. Mitrousis, who emigrated to the United States from Greece decades ago, says the first lady's failure to leave a tip does not bother him and that it was "an honor" to have the first lady stop there.
He also noted that he enjoyed the publicity because many customers now ask for the table where Mrs. Clinton sat. He said he lost money during her visit, however, because regular patrons could not get in to the packed parking lot near the intersection of routes 31 and 98.
Mr. Mitrousis said he did not charge Mrs. Clinton for the food she ordered herself during her visit with more than a dozen reporters and photographers in tow.
Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson had no comment.
The restaurant stop came a day after Mrs. Clinton told a group of high-tech workers and politicians that "a lot of our farms and farmers are really hurting these days."
"That's why I support efforts to strengthen the farm safety net including efforts to subsidize the cost of crop insurance and to target supplemental income assistance to farmers who are facing falling prices," she said.

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