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Socks, formerly Bill Clinton's cat, reported to be gravely ill

the Clintons' cat Socks

It's a big week for political pet news -- first Joe Biden raised the ire of animal activists for purchasing his new puppy from a breeder; then the Bushes' Scottish terrier, Barney, decorated the White House for the holidays; then Barack Obama had a practical conversation about pet waste with some elementary-school  kids.

Now, we're sad to report that everyone's favorite White House cat, Socks, may soon be headed to kitty heaven.  U.S. News & World Report says:

Socks the cat, probably the most photographed presidential kitty in history, has cancer and isn't expected to live. "His days are numbered," says Barry Landau, a friend of Socks' master, Betty Currie. Landau, a presidential historian and author of The President's Table, tells our Suzi Parker that the Currie family could have put Socks on feeding tubes, but decided against it. "They fear he is too old," adds Landau, who is writing a book on presidential inaugurations. And a second source told us that Socks is gravely ill.

Socks, it must be said, has had a good run -- a Southern Maryland Newspapers Online article written in  June put his age at a ripe old 19.  He's lived with Currie, Bill Clinton's former secretary, since Clinton left office in 2001.

Socks was something of a pop culture phenomenon during the Clinton presidency, even making it onto a series of Central African Republic stamps.  His much-publicized distaste for the Clintons' dog once prompted Bill Clinton to tell CNN, "I did better with the Arabs -- the Palestinians and the Israelis -- than I have done with Socks and Buddy."

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Bruce Young / Reuters

 
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