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Clinton Goes Shopping

June 19, 1999

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) _ A $52 porcelain figurine of a clown playing a saxophone is headed for the suitcase of sax-playing President Clinton.

After wrapping up a day of summitry Friday, Clinton embarked on a brief shopping foray, stopping at Sweetheart, a store that sells traditional Christmas and Carnival knickknacks and local souvenirs near the city’s cathedral.

Clinton emerged with a big smile, strolled to the edge of a crowd of several hundred people and clasped a few of the outstretched hands before retreating with his aides to a waiting limousine.

U.S. Embassy officials called up Sweetheart owner Gereon Brands earlier in the day and made him a proposition: Could he stay open a few hours late for the president?

``Of course I said yes. It’s great advertising,″ said Brands.

Inside the store, he said, Clinton asked about regional handicrafts. Then he walked outside and checked out the window display before choosing the musical clown and a beer stein.

Before driving away, he told the crowd that the stein was like one he’d bought 30 years ago when he visited Germany while studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

``He said he doesn’t collect clowns, but he liked this one because of the saxophone,″ Brands said. Clinton, known for his love of the instrument, plans to put the figure in his music room.

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