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Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 04:26 GMT
Grand homecoming for Socks the Cat
Socks at the presidential lectern
Socks was the Clinton White House's ultimate insider
Former First Feline Socks the Cat is to return to the streets of Arkansas where he was once a humble stray.

The presidential pet lived in the Arkansas governor's mansion in Little Rock, before moving to Washington with Bill Clinton and having the run of the White House for eight years.

Book of letters written to the Clintons' presidential pets
Hillary Clinton published a book of letters written to Socks and Buddy the dog
The ultimate Clinton administration insider is to lead Little Rock's annual Christmas parade through the state capital riding with schoolchildren in a vintage 1967 Ford Mustang convertible once owned by Mr Clinton.

Organisers from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau said it was the 11-year-old cat's first return to Arkansas since he left for Washington in 1992.

He was only a stray kitten when he was adopted by Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the then Arkansas governor in 1991.

She named him Socks for his distinctive four white paws and the cat accompanied the family to Washington after Bill Clinton's election triumph.

Pet rivalry

Once the undisputed First Pet, Socks cut back on his public trips out on to the South Lawn of the White House after the arrival of Buddy the labrador in late 1997.

President Clinton was reported to have been using all his skills as a negotiator to get the two pets to reach an understanding.


He has probably missed Arkansas terribly

Parade organiser Linda Caillouet

Hillary Clinton did get cat and dog to share a book of letters written to them, but the rivalry never ended.

When Bill and Hillary Clinton moved to New York they took Buddy, but Chelsea - now studying at Oxford University in England - decided to entrust Socks to her father's secretary Betty Currie in Washington.

Mrs Currie will accompany Socks for could be a momentous weekend.

Parade organiser Linda Caillouet said: "It will be quite a homecoming for Socks - he has probably missed Arkansas terribly."

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10 Jan 01 | Americas
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