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Clinton, Dole Trade Christmas Cheer

Sat., Dec. 21, 1996

President Clinton and former Republican rival Bob Dole met Friday, making good on an election-night agreement to sit and chat. An exchange of Christmas presents sweetened the deal.

Meeting alone in the Oval Office, the two men talked for about an hour - a visit the president described as “fascinating and fun,” White House press secretary Mike McCurry told reporters.

Dole, the longtime Senate Republican leader defeated in his third and final bid for the presidency, made clear in his Nov. 5 concession to Clinton that he intends to keep a hand in public policy. But both sides described Friday’s visit as nothing more than a holiday social call and a chance to talk about the 1996 campaign.

The Republican relayed a gift from his schnauzer, Leader, to the presidential cat, Socks - a Christmas stocking stuffed with feline treats.

In return, Clinton offered Dole two presents.

Dole said the president told him before he left the White House that American-flag cuff links and a White House Christmas ornament were tucked inside his gift-wrapped packages.

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