TRANSITION NOTEBOOK: Job and House Hunting in Little Rock
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ ″YEAH 3/8 Congratulations All,″ read the letter to Bruce Reed, a campaign policy adviser to Bill Clinton, from the Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute of Moscow, Idaho.
It didn’t end there.
″How about Jim Hightower for secretary of agriculture?″ said the handwritten note from the institute’s executive director, Tom Lamar.
″I don’t know him,″ Reed said the other day as he opened his mail at Clinton campaign headquarters. ″Never heard of him.″
Since the campaign ended, Lamar is one of thousands of people who have sent the Clinton campaign recommendations for Clinton administration posts. Hightower is a former Texas commissioner of agriculture known for his populist stemwinders.
Some people, of course, recommend themselves. Reed and other Clinton advisers say they are getting calls and mail from people looking for jobs, some from friends, some from people they have never heard of before.
″They send them to everybody,″ said Reed. ″My mail is far from unique.″
Arkansans looking for Washington-area real estate need look no further than their local newspaper. But they better brace themselves for sticker shock.
Classified ads for Washington-area residences have been popping up in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since a few days after Clinton won last week’s presidential race.
″35 min. to the White House,″ boasted one recent ad for a five-bedroom home in Potomac, Md.
The price could be an eye opener to many Arkansans thinking of moving to Washington with their governor-turned-president-elect. The Potomac home’s asking price was $565,000. A four-bedroom home in Arkansas advertised for sale just a few inches away on the classified page had an asking price of $75,000.
Clinton was harshly critical of the tone of President Bush’s campaign, but he says it’s time to put let bygones be bygones.
″As far as I’m concerned, it’s over,″ Clinton told reporters Wednesday after aides announced plans for the president-elect to visit Washington next week, a trip likely to include a visit with Bush.
″Look, I’m not living in the past,″ Clinton said. ″I got elected. He’s being very cooperative.″
Bush called Clinton on Wednesday and issued the White House invitation. ″It was a very, very good call this morning - a very statesmanlike thing to do. I appreciate it,″ Clinton said.
Clinton has worn the same tie for the last eight Veterans Day celebrations - a navy blue number with an eagle insignia that looks much like the presidential seal.
The Arkansas governor called the insignia ″the symbol of America,″ but said he had never given much thought to the tie’s significance.
″I thought about it for the first time today though,″ Clinton said Wednesday.
Martina Pierini stood on her tiptoes and thrust her checkbook through a gaggle of arms, sticking it in Clinton’s hand.
″You’ll be signing a lot of checks,″ the Ross Perot supporter said sarcastically. ″Will you sign one for me?″
Clinton signed the check and moved on to greet other members of the crowd.
Ms. Pierini, a Maumelle, Ark., resident, said she didn’t mean to make a political statement with the request, but hoped Clinton would work hard to keep the nation’s debt down.
Ivana Trump tried to get a close-up look at Clinton’s home Wednesday evening but her limousine was turned away by Secret Service agents.
Mrs. Trump, the ex-wife of New York businessman Donald Trump, told reporters she was in Little Rock to give a speech and decided to have her driver take her on a tour of the city, including a pass by the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
Local police and the Secret Service have the road past the mansion blocked off, and refused to allow Mrs. Trump’s black limousine to pass by.