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Hometown Welcome Arkansans Cheer The First Lady

Wed., Jan. 17, 1996, midnight

Beaming at “I Trust Hillary” signs and likening her critics to neighborhood bullies, Hillary Rodham Clinton basked in hometown cheers Tuesday. She said she will testify to Congress if that’s what it takes to put Whitewater behind her.

As she began a 10-city tour to promote her new book, Clinton told an auditorium filled with hundreds of supporters that “despite all the storm about Whitewater” she hoped the American people focus on important issues such as the well-being of the nation’s children.

A few blocks from the downtown hotel where she spoke, her indicted Whitewater business partners and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker were in a pre-trial court hearing trying to fend off charges that they looted a savings and loan before it collapsed. Tucker and James and Susan McDougal face a March 4 trial.

And in Washington the Senate Whitewater Committee heard from three White House aides who on Nov. 5, 1993, met with the Clintons’ personal lawyers after spending several months gathering information about the thenburgeoning criminal investigations of Whitewater.

Appearing happy to be away from Washington, Clinton spent half an hour chatting and autographing copies of her book on raising children for more than 100 friends who turned out in heavy fog to greet her at the airport. Two dozen or so supporters carried signs bearing hand-drawn messages of support.

Mary Jo Rogers of Hot Springs - who said she’s known Bill Clinton since he was 12 years old - waved a sign that said, “I Trust Hillary.”

Tags: Congress

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