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Bill Relaxes

Time cover

By Belinda Luscombe

Affairs of state are all very well, but even the leader of the free world likes to focus more on affairs of escape occasionally. Unwilling to believe that BILL and HILLARY CLINTON would embark on a holiday during which they simply holidayed, folks on Martha's Vineyard eagerly swapped rumors that the President would be dining with Diana, barbecuing with Barbra, maybe even testing his Nikes on the links with Mike. But the first week of the Clintons' three-week vacation on the island off Cape Cod was relatively low on celebrity schmoozing and high on sedentary pleasures. "The President and the First Lady had several intense exchanges of words," deputy White House spokesman Barry Toiv told reporters at a typical press briefing on the Commander in Chief's daily maneuvers. "Some of them earned triple word scores; some of them did not. They spent yesterday playing Scrabble."

Not that the Clintons were complete hermits. What trip to Massachusetts would be complete without a Kennedy visitation? They chummed around on TED KENNEDY's yacht with the Senator, his wife Victoria Reggie, niece CAROLINE KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG and assorted others from the famous clan. Bill also had time to bestow a presidential pat--and instant celebrity--on BUDDY, a local pooch. "Is this a great dog or what?" Clinton asked, even though dogs still don't have the vote.

But apart from going jogging with CHELSEA--wearing a T shirt given to him by a 16-year-old Israeli boy who's terminally ill--and fitting in a little golfing, Clinton used much of the time for that great solitary pursuit, reading. He delved into Snow in August by Pete Hamill and The Heat Is On by Ross Gelbspan, while Hillary read best seller The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. And after all that, there was still time to admire the "very lovely sculpture" that Toiv announced Hillary got Bill for his birthday. Sometimes a vacation is just a vacation.





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