- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002

Alas, poor Buddy Clinton. We knew him well, both as presidential companion and political metaphor.
The former first dog was killed by a car shortly after noon Wednesday, struck on a busy road near his master's home in Chappaqua, N.Y. Local police released the information yesterday.
Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, were vacationing in Acapulco at the time.
"The dog was chasing after a contractor's truck, which had just left the house, and then was hit by another car at 12:15 p.m. out on Route 117," said a New Castle police spokesman. "He just darted out. The Secret Service brought him in to the Chappaqua Animal Hospital, but he was dead."
The Clintons issued a statement about the chocolate-brown Labrador retriever, who arrived at the White House as a 3-month-old puppy in December 1997 with a heady destiny in store. The dog would provide considerable press diversion during the Monica Lewinsky matter, which surfaced just weeks later, and the rocky White House years that followed.
"We are deeply saddened by Buddy's death," the Clintons said. "He was a loyal companion and brought us much joy. He will truly be missed."
For a dog's demise, the incident rated immediate global media coverage.
"The family's previous dog, Zeke, was also run over and killed by a car when Mr. Clinton was governor of Arkansas," noted the BBC yesterday.
Like other presidential pets, Buddy appealed to journalists, who saw him as a kind of canine window on the presidency, chronicling the dog's interactions with Mr. Clinton with gleeful intent. The dog once tripped the president during a photo-op session on the White House lawn and accidentally scratched Mr. Clinton during a tumble in the ocean.
Buddy's castration at 7 months also inspired ironic news coverage, prompting White House spokesman Barry Toiv to assure the press corps that "Buddy has not been informed" about the operation because he was "too young to understand."
Buddy's rivalry with the cat, Socks, another neutered member of the Clinton household, also was the source of ongoing speculation, even prompting a 1998 children's book.
"I made more progress in the Middle East than I did between Buddy and Socks," Mr. Clinton said in 1999.
But Buddy was a survivor. When the Clintons left the White House almost a year ago, Socks was sent to live in California with the president's former secretary, Betty Currie, while Buddy went to live in the Clinton's $1.3 million Chappaqua home.
"He sleeps with me when Hillary's not here," Mr. Clinton said last year.
Buddy's death, however, prompted considerable commentary from Clinton critics, particularly via Internet news sites.
"Poor Buddy. He was probably the only member of the Clinton household who was entirely without guile," noted one visitor to www.lucianne.com, which had logged more than 100 messages by midafternoon yesterday.
"I'm sure the Democratic National Committee and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will say the dog died because of a vast, right-wing conspiracy," read another opinion.
"Buddy was just another prop for photo ops," another visitor said.
The dog's death was not related to a violation of leash laws, the New Castle police said yesterday. "It was an accident," a spokesman said.


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