Hillary Clinton Knows a Thing or Two About Presidential Pets

Let the arrival of a new White House pet remind you that the rumored presidential hopeful once compiled a book about them.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Aug. 20, 2013, 12:03 p.m.

The sum­mer has been rife with spec­u­la­tion on what kind of pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton would be — if she even de­cides to run — in 2016. So much so, that it seems like some may have already for­got­ten about the per­son who still holds that of­fice (who, keep in mind, was reelec­ted just 10 months ago).

Pres­id­ent Obama stole back the spot­light Monday night, when the White House an­nounced the new­est mem­ber of the pres­id­en­tial fam­ily: a one-year-old Por­tuguese wa­ter dog pup named Sunny. Sunny joins Bo, the dog of the same breed that the Oba­mas ad­op­ted shortly after the 2008 elec­tion.

This rev­el­a­tion ob­vi­ously won’t spur com­ment­ary on what kind of pet own­er Clin­ton will be in 2016. But let us try any­way. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that the rumored hope­ful is pretty qual­i­fied when it comes to pres­id­en­tial pets, be­cause she wrote the book on them — kind of.

In late 1998, Clin­ton au­thored Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Let­ters to the First Pets. The work pulled to­geth­er 50 let­ters from Amer­ic­an chil­dren ad­dressed to the then-first pets, Socks the cat and Buddy the chocol­ate Lab­rador. It fea­tures fun facts about both an­im­als, from their birth date and weight to fa­vor­ite activ­it­ies and hideouts in the White House, as well as 80 pho­tos of the pair in ac­tion. Meant to en­cour­age let­ter writ­ing in young chil­dren, the book also men­tions the fam­ous pres­id­en­tial pets to whom earli­er gen­er­a­tions wrote, in­clud­ing Frank­lin D. Roosevelt’s dog Fala and John F. Kennedy’s dog Pushinka. (To take a look back at oth­er pets-in-chief, check out the video above.)

In the book, Socks and Buddy fielded such ques­tions as “How does it feel to have all the food you want?” “Do you have a Secret Ser­vice agent?” “Do you ever an­noy the pres­id­ent?” and “Are there any good mice in the White House?” Read­ers seemed to en­joy comb­ing through the re­sponses, with one Amazon re­view­er call­ing for “five meows, five barks, and five stars for this great hol­i­day re­lease.”

The let­ters were hand­writ­ten and mailed to the White House. Today, though, Sunny should ready her­self for a steady stream of e-mails and tweets.

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