Virtual President To Hit Links

Seated at matching laptops, President Clinton and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern used "smart cards," personalized codes and digital readers Friday to electronically affix their signatures to an electronic commerce agreement.
Clinton's Trip To Ireland
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Clinton joked that he missed the old-fashioned way of approving deals.

"Do you have any idea how much time I spend every day signing my name? I'm going to feel utterly useless if I can't do that anymore," he said.

He also offered this insight on being president: "You know, by the time you become the leader of a country, someone else makes all the decisions. You just sign your name."

"You may find you can get away with virtual presidents, virtual prime ministers, virtual everything. You know, just stick a little card in and get the predictable response."

When Clinton last visited Ireland in 1995, the Emerald Isle's famed Ballybunion Golf Course was to be his final stop, but the urgency of American troop deployments in Bosnia blew him off course.

This time the only thing likely to stop Clinton from sampling the cliffside links in Ireland's southwest could be heavy rain and potential gale-force winds forecast for his Saturday outing.

Clinton, who normally cruises the links from behind the wheel of an armored golf cart, may also have to heft his own clubs. Golfers at Ballybunion must hire a caddy at $20 per bag or haul their own because carts are forbidden.

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