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  •   Clintons Near Deal on House In Westchester

    By John F. Harris
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, September 1, 1999; Page A12

    President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton are in final negotiations to buy a house in New York's Westchester County, according to sources who said the Clintons may announce their selection of a post-White House residence within days.

    The Clintons, after a summer-long search for houses in the state Hillary Clinton hopes will elect her to the U.S. Senate next year, have set their sights on a five-bedroom, four-story Georgian colonial in Chappaqua. The house, whose owners were asking $1,695,000 for the property, has a pool and sits on 1.1 acres.

    "They want it, and they're in negotiations," said one person familiar with their house hunt. "They're trying to lock it down."

    Some accounts from people in Westchester professing secondhand knowledge yesterday portrayed the purchase as a done deal, with the sellers already celebrating. But sources close to the Clintons, neither of whom has lived in New York, said hurdles in the negotiations remained to be cleared. They did not specify those hurdles, or how much the Clintons had offered for the house.

    White House officials and a campaign spokesman for Hillary Clinton did not provide details. "There's been no announcement yet," said Howard Wolfson, spokesman for Hillary Clinton's campaign exploratory committee.

    The Clintons' selection of a house that, if their hopes are realized, can be called their home a little more than 16 months from now is the culmination of an extensive search led mainly by Hillary Clinton. It was a more complicated, and more public, choice than confronts the typical home buyer. Beyond personal tastes, there also was a greater-than-average need for security. There also was the inevitable political dimension of the choice between New York City and its suburbs, and between metropolitan New York and the vast region upstate. She looked at or inquired about places in Manhattan, and outside Buffalo, before focusing on Westchester.

    The Clintons toured the Chappaqua property on Saturday. If their offer is accepted, Hillary Clinton will get something she has sought for years: a pool. She once proposed building one, with private money, in the executive mansion in Arkansas, but dropped the idea after being told voters might be offended.

    Staff writer Lynne Duke contributed to this report.

    © 1999 The Washington Post Company

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