President Clinton is indulging in a Magical Memory Tour this week, revisiting some of the European parks and shops he haunted as a Rhodes scholar on holiday 30 years ago.
As leader of the Free World, of course, he now attracts a bit more attention, and his four days in France and Germany have triggered mob scenes, women begging for presidential kisses and even fisticuffs among photographers.
The president -- whose official mission here is to attend the policy-steeped summit of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies plus Russia -- has seemed blissfully oblivious to the havoc, plunging into crowds and ice cream stores with elan.
"I got a German stein just like the one I got 30 years ago," Clinton exclaimed late Friday night as he emerged from the Sweethearts gift shop on Cologne's Am Hof Street after a G-7 dinner.
"Yeah, baby!" shouted someone in the rapidly gathering crowd. Energized, the president shook every hand within reach as onlookers cheered and pressed against green-uniformed German police.
The scene was even wilder Thursday in Paris. As soon as Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter Chelsea left for a two-day side trip to Morocco and Sicily, the president pointed his motorcade toward the Tuileries, with paparazzi giving chase on motor scooters.
"I was here 30 years ago," Clinton said when he reached the famous gardens, rousting scores of tourists and strollers from their midafternoon reveries. "I have a picture of myself at that fountain."
The mob of onlookers, photographers and security agents nearly trampled a young woman pushing her baby in a stroller. "This is unmanageable," groaned a usually unflappable Secret Service agent. Clinton tried to make amends, playfully clutching the little boy's left hand.
The motorcade then dashed to the Rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile for some shopping. Clinton eyed the ceramic frogs at Galerie Alize. "This is great! These are beautiful!" he said, choosing one for purchase and sheepishly acknowledging, "I have so many of these [at home], I had to pack some of them up."
Back on the street, people shouted from cars, barricades and balconies. "Now I can die happy," said an orange-shirted woman after requesting -- and getting -- a presidential hug. "Kiss, kiss!" pleaded another, and Clinton complied with a buss on each cheek.
Today the bedlam moved into Cologne's presumably safe Ludwig Museum, where Clinton and the G-7 leaders sat at a large table for a photo. European photographers suddenly stormed the table, pushing, yelling and shoving each other until burly German security guards herded them out. Clinton, the main focus of attention, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair seemed amused by the chaos. Other leaders were ashen faced.
Clinton's ultimate nostalgia trip may occur Sunday night. White House staffers said he was trying to rearrange his schedule to attend the Rolling Stones concert at Cologne's soccer stadium. For the nation's most famous baby boomer, that would be a gas gas gas.
CAPTION: President Clinton conducts a chorus of young Germans in Cologne's city hall. In Europe for a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven nations and Russia, he was surrounded by well-wishers whenever he appeared in public in Cologne, and during an earlier stop in Paris.