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Clintons Scour Washington for Home

December 26, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As millions of Americans rushed out Tuesday to return Christmas gifts, President Clinton was still looking to pick something up: a new place to live in Washington.

The Clintons came close over Christmas weekend to having another place to call home but couldn’t agree with the owner on a price.

According to the Washington Post, which cited ``a source familiar with the deal,″ the owners wanted $2.199 million, the Clintons offered $1.7 million and the owners said they would settle for $1.99 million. But no deal was reached.

White House officials on Tuesday refused to talk about the first family’s househunting. But Clinton watchers around town have seen the first lady and the president touring homes in Washington’s tonier neighborhoods, including Cleveland Park, Georgetown, Foxhall and Kalorama.

The president and Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., already own a home in Chappaqua, N.Y. _ their personal items have been slowly transferred there from the White House _ but are looking for a Washington-area home as well since Mrs. Clinton’s office will move from the White House to Capitol Hill.

The Clintons have insisted that they are not selling their Chappaqua home. Mrs. Clinton has signed a deal with a publisher to write her memoirs; she will receive an advance payment of $8 million.

Most senators have a second residence in the Washington area besides a home in the state they represent. The Senate convenes for the first time in 2001 on Jan. 3, when all the new senators will be sworn in.

Beyond the recently purchased New York home, the Clintons have lived in public housing for 20 of the past 22 years _ for 12 years when Clinton was governor of Arkansas and the past eight as president.

Diane Shearin told The Washington Post that the president and first lady presented a contract Friday on their home in the Battery Kemble Park subdivision of the Foxhall neighborhood.

She said the Clintons had a few contingencies on their purchase offer: a home inspection, Secret Service clearance and a desire to take possession of the property by Jan. 5.

The Clintons _ the president, the first lady and daughter Chelsea _ toured the house for about 45 minutes Saturday but told the owners they would not be buying the home on Sunday. ``We just don’t know why they backed out,″ Diane Shearin told the Post.

Shearin’s real estate agent, Nancy Itteilag, said the Clintons visited four properties on their short list on Saturday, including homes believed to be in Kalorama, west Dupont and Chevy Chase.

Calls to Shearin and Itteilag were not returned Tuesday.

The Clintons did not tell anyone Saturday that they would be touring the home. The president left the White House without the usual custom of alerting reporters.

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