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Saturday, January 10, 1998 Published at 10:26 GMT



World

A politician's best friend
image: [ Not everyone in the White House is delighted by Buddy's arrival ]
Not everyone in the White House is delighted by Buddy's arrival

President Clinton has currently enjoying what most politicians dream of, a public image that paints him as warm, caring and sensitive.

But this has less to do with the efforts of his highly paid team of spin-doctors or new policy imiatives, and rather more to with a chocolate labrador called Buddy.

Ever since the puppy eased ahead of his cat Socks as first pet, President Clinton's poll ratings have soared.

The President has, at least, had the grace to admit that acquiring Buddy was not a truly original idea: "You know President Truman said if you want a friend you need to get a dog," he told a White House press briefing.


[ image: Buddy charming the White House press corps. (note canine saliva on this camera lens.)]
Buddy charming the White House press corps. (note canine saliva on this camera lens.)
The White House press corps, the same high powered journalists who brought President Nixon to his knees, have jumped on board the Buddy bandwagon with gusto. They are now delivering news coverage of Buddy's holidays with the President to a panting American public.


[ image: Is Buddy replacing daughter Chelsea in the President's heart?]
Is Buddy replacing daughter Chelsea in the President's heart?
And with his daughter Chelsea crossing the country to go to University in California, President Clinton might claim that he is only doing what millions of parents worldwide do, and filling the empty nest; replacing a daughter with a dog.

Cynics point out that Buddy isn't just filling an empty void in the President's heart; Chelsea was always available for Presidential photocalls when press attention needed deflecting from one embarrassment or another.


[ image: President Clinton is hoping Buddy will deflect attention away from Paula Jones]
President Clinton is hoping Buddy will deflect attention away from Paula Jones
President Clinton's popularity is under threat, however, as he faces the biggest embarrassment of his incumbency. Paula Jones who alleges he made sexual advances towards her in an Arkansas hotel with his trousers down has been granted a court hearing in May. President Clinton may have to appear too.







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Analysis of Buddy's press coverage

Socks is still ahead on the Internet


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