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Clinton Visits Deli, Mulls Book

Former President BIll Clinton holds up a paper bag containing his egg sandwich as his brother-in-law Hugh Rodham, left, and a Clinton aide, right, look on at Langes Little Store and Delicatessen in Chappaqua, N.Y., Sunday, Jan. 21, 2001. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
AP
Like other private citizens, former President Bill Clinton kicked back and relaxed Sunday.

He slept late, didn't read the papers and didn't watch the political talk shows.

But in vintage style for a man considered by friends and foe alike to be the consummate politician, his foray for coffee and an egg sandwich quickly became a celebrity event, with many trappings of a campaign stop.

Mr. Clinton shook hands, signed autographs, greeted babies and made small talk with supporters who crowded the deli and rushed to greet him on the sidewalk outside.

Outside Lange's Little Store, a small crowd chanted, "Eight more years."

"It's nice to go when some people still want you to stay," Mr. Clinton said.

As he stopped in the Chappaqua deli on his first full day after leaving office, Mr. Clinton told reporters he would spend his first week at the family's new home unpacking, "getting organized" and catching up on his sleep.

"We worked very hard at the end and I'm tired," he said. "I slept a lot last night. I'm going to try to help at the house. I'm going to work real hard on the house and on planning the future, figuring out what to do about writing a book and things like that."

A Clinton representative declined to comment on when the former president would begin looking for a book deal. But industry insiders believe it could happen any time from this week to some time next month.

If that happens, those industry insiders expect offers to reach $5 million or higher. That would be somewhat less than Sen. Hillary Clinton's $8 million book advance.

Presidential memoirs generally don't have a strong commercial history. Books about presidents tend to sell better than books by them.

But one publisher notes that Mr. Clinton's memoirs would have the draw of gossip.

Instead of the multi-car presidential motorcade, complete with limousines, staff and bodyguards, Sunday's deli entourage fit into two minivans. Daughter Chelsea and brother-in-law Hugh Rodham accompanied the former president along with a handful of aides.

Inside the deli, Chelsea sat at a table with a few friends while Mr. Clinton posed for pictures, signed autographs and greeted fans. Mrs. Clinton stayed home unpacking, according to an aide.

Mr. Clinton said their Chappaqua home has plenty of living space "but not nearly enough space to hold all the things we accumulated over the last eight years."

Leaving the deli, Mr. Clinton and others carried a coffee for his wife amid several brown paper bags of takeout.

"It's a major affair of state," Mr. Clinton said as he left. "I'm working on my egg sandwich."

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