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Clinton By A Whisker In Last-Minute Shopping Says He Was Really Done For ‘97 And So Got A Start On Next Year

Thu., Dec. 25, 1997

President Clinton made quick work of his Christmas Eve shopping, an annual ritual with his daughter, Chelsea. In under two hours, he rang up a potpourri of loot: jumbo coffee mugs, necklaces, books, whistles and a $35 ceramic donkey.

He said he was stocking up for Christmas 1998.

“He shops so quickly,” marvelled Katherine Cooke, who hemmed and hawed over her own purchases at a jewelry stand in Washington’s Union Station, while Clinton teased her to buy something.

“I work for them,” the president joked of the attendant cashiers. “I’m on a commission.”

Clinton had said the night before that his Christmas shopping was done and he was hitting the stores with Chelsea only as a matter of tradition.

But as the shopping bags accumulated and were passed off to aides, Clinton shrugged. “I thought I was done,” he said. “I just got carried away. I did a lot of work for next year.”

The Clintons planned to join longtime friends Vernon and Ann Jordan for dinner later before Christmas Eve church services.

Andy Brown, a Washington-area sales representative, was at Union Station picking up a necklace for his wife and took comfort in Clinton’s appearance among the last-minute panic. “I don’t feel bad now. I thought I was the only one who did this, but I guess I’m in good company,” Brown said.


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