President Clinton found more backers than foes waiting in Philadelphia, where he attended a pair of campaign fundraisers and took a break from impeachment talk swirling about him in Washington.
After encountering a mix of supporters and critics in Cleveland, Clinton found backers far outnumbering opponents outside a City Hall reception in Philadelphia.
"I didn't even mind the protesters. That's the American way. But you like it even more when they're not in the majority, and that seemed to be the case today," Clinton said. The crowd gathered in City Hall laughed.
"Bill, Hillary, Chelsea," chanted about 100 cheering supporters on one corner outside, waving "We Support Clinton" signs.
"Impeach him," "He Failed Us," read signs carried by about 20 anti-Clinton demonstrators at the other end of the block.
Though there were more of the supporters, including a large contingent of union members, Clinton had a more direct view of the detractors as he was whisked into the building.
At one point Mike McMonagle, a pro-life activist from suburban Montgomery County, paraded in front of the Clinton supporters waving a "Resign Now" sign at them.
Two pro-Clinton demonstrators wearing Teamsters union hats and buttons rushed out, snatched the placard and flung it to the ground, and McMonagle retreated. The two declined to give their names.
Among the anti-Clinton demonstrators, Tom Gutherman of Reading was accompanied by his son, Timothy, 6, who wore a baseball cap and glasses and carried a sign reading, "He's lying to America."
"He should be out of office now," Timothy said.
At the airport, Clinton was greeted by Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell and 11-year-old Greg Scott of Norristown, who had written a letter to the president several weeks ago saying he forgave him for the Lewinsky scandal. Greg said he accepted the apology of the president and said he hoped the nation could allow the president to continue doing his job.
Clinton made an unscheduled stop at a shopping arcade, where aides said he shopped for a present for his wife, Hillary, for their anniversary this weekend. Aides would not reveal what Clinton bought, saying that would spoil the surprise.
Kevin Feeley, spokesman for Democratic Mayor Edward G. Rendell, said most Philadelphia-area congressman and Democratic congressional candidates were scheduled to attend the fund-raisers. Organizers for the two events at City Hall were expected to rake in nearly $500,000 in donations for two arms of the Democratic National Committee.
By the time Clinton's motorcade departed from City Hall only a few stragglers remained outside, trying to get a glimpse of the president.
At least one Democratic candidate did not think the money alone warranted a show of support. Joseph Hoeffel, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jon D. Fox, of Montgomery County said he stayed away rom City Hall in favor of his own previously planned fundraiser.
Though Hoeffel said he does not want Clinton booted from office, he said he is being consistent with past criticisms he's made by being a no-show for a Clinton function.
"When Clinton has an event in the area, he's just not going to go," Hoeffel campaign spokesman Ken Horowitz said. "We've gotten a lot of calls both ways on it."
Rendell's office says Hoeffel is the exception when it comes to Democratic support in the area.
"It's unfortunate Hoeffel chose to make that decision, because in this case the president is seeing the opposite effect from supporters," Feeley said. Up to 200 people were expected between the $1,000-a-ticket cocktail party, and the $10,000-a-couple dinner that followed.
"It underscores the president's popularity in Philadelphia," Feeley said. "He's a popular president and people are keeping their eye on the real issues."
Clinton did not meet on this trip with spiritual advisor The Rev. Tony Campolo, a sociology professor at Eastern College in St. David's, Pa. Campolo is on a speaking tour through the West this week, and in Pasadena, Calif., Friday. Campolo met with Clinton last week, said Campolo's assistant Diana Robertson.
Written By GENARO C. ARMAS