After his first night as a New Yorker, President Clinton said today he is going to make it even more official by registering to vote in the state in time to cast a ballot for his wife in her U.S. Senate race this year.
"I've got a particular interest in the election and I want to make sure my vote counts," the president said as he and Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke with reporters in front of their new home.
The Clintons spent Wednesday night in the $1.7 million Dutch colonial house in Westchester County.
"It was a little overwhelming because there is so much to be done," Hillary Clinton said of their first night in their home. "We stayed up very late, getting things organized and put away."
Initially, Hillary Clinton, who needs a New York address to run for the Senate, was scheduled to arrive alone to unpack. An unexpected break in the president's schedule allowed him to accompany the first lady, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Clinton said the couple, unpacking boxes, were discovering possessions they hadn't seen in 17 years, including a table bought shortly after they were married in 1975. "This is the first home we have had since January 1983 when we moved into the governor's mansion in Little Rock," he said.
The Clintons were heading back to Washington today, and the president was planning to return to the Israeli-Syrian peace talks in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
As they were leaving for the airport, the Clintons stopped their motorcade to greet neighbors in downtown Chappaqua, shaking hands and talking for 10 minutes outside the fire station. The president strolled across the street to a gas station, where a sidewalk sandwich board read: "Welcome Hillary and Bill."
A friend who also lives in Westchester County and has vacationed with the Clintons in Massachusetts brought over home-cooked food for dinner. And a neighbor brought a bottle of champagne, Lockhart said.
Though some of the 17,000 residents in upscale Chappaqua have complained about the media and onlookers drawn by the Clintons, many seemed eager to greet them.
"I think there's been some disturbance for the people" on the Clintons' street, said Wilma Rapp. "Other than that, people feel pretty good about the Clintons. You tell somebody you live in Chappaqua and they say, 'Oh! Hillary!' "
CAPTION: On the threshhold: The Clintons reenter their home, where they spent Wednesday night, after a media chat.