Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Socks, companion of the Clinton family during their years in the White House, passed away Friday at age 19.

Socks came into the Clintons' lives when he jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton as she was leaving her piano teacher's house in 1991. Although Bill and Hillary were not enthusiastic about having a cat for a pet at first, Chelsea became attatched to Socks, and her parents agreed to let her keep him. The next year Socks made the trip from Little Rock to Washington to become the eighth feline occupant of the White House.

Although Socks made an appearance or two in the White House briefing room, all accounts seem to indicate that Socks led a leisurely life during his Washington years. He received a good deal of fan mail during President Clinton's time in office, though he had little interest in it. He spent a good deal of time on a blue-striped chair next to the desk of Clinton's secretary Betty Currie, with whom he developed a special bond.

In 1997, the Clintons acquired a Labrador retriever, Buddy, which did not sit well with Socks. The two never saw eye-to-eye; President Clinton said, "I did better with ... the Palestinians and the Israelis than I've done with Socks and Buddy."

When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they left Socks in the care of Betty Currie and her husband. Socks spent his retirement years with the Curries, eating lots of home cooking. His favorite meal was chicken. In December 2008, Socks was found to have cancer of the jaw, and was euthanized in a Hollywood, Maryland veterinary hospital on February 20.

The Clinton family released the following statement: "Socks brought much happiness to Chelsea and us over the years, and enjoyment to kids and cat lovers everywhere. We're grateful for those memories, and we especially want to thank our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years."