The President From Hope, Arkansas to Become A New Yorker

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - President Clinton, a proud southerner and long-time Arkansas native and politician, said on Thursday he would change his registration to New York so he could vote for his wife in her quest for the US Senate.

Clinton, who spent a dozen years as Arkansas governor, stood arm-in-arm with his wife outside their new home in the affluent New York City suburb of Chappaqua and spoke of how happy they were to be ''New Yorkers''.

Wire service reports say that the First Lady has already registered to vote in New York and the president said he would register here, too.

"I've got a particular interest in the election up here next year, so I want to make sure my vote counts,'' Clinton said. "I expect to vote in the election in New York.''

The couple, embarking on a year-long commuter marriage, looked relaxed as they told of staying up to about one in the morning on their first night in their $1.7 million house.

Without a television yet, they said they listened to a hand-cranked radio as they unpacked boxes and pondered where to hang paintings and place furniture.

"We are so pleased that we are finally here,'' the First Lady told reporters clustered at the end of the driveway, next to a "no trespassing'' sign. "It's a lot of fun for us to be able to do this again for the first time in such a long time.''

Clinton spoke fondly of being able to see their old possessions again. Plucked out of storage was a table the couple bought shortly after they married in 1975.

"We're seeing some things we haven't seen since we moved to the White House, and some things we haven't seen in 17 years,'' said Clinton, clad in a leather bomber jacket and cowboy boots.

The sprawling, five-bedroom, white shingled house with a pool is a step up from the modest yellow-framed home in Little Rock - the last place the Clintons lived in on their own before leaving in 1983 for the Arkansas governor's house that served as Clinton's springboard to the White House.

Today the roles are reversed, with the couple moving to New York to establish residence. Mrs. Clinton is campaigning for the Senate with the President giving advice as he readies for next January when he, too, will leave the White House.

The couple had some help moving in, bringing Mrs. Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham, with them on Wednesday as they unpacked boxes trucked up from the White House earlier in the week.

A family friend who lives in a nearby town brought over dinner, and her son helped the President move things around the white shingled, five-bedroom house, which is set back on the corner of a cul-de-sac on Old House Lane.

"It was a little overwhelming because there is so much to be done,'' Mrs. Clinton said, adding they would return next week and would keep working on the house until it was in shape.

The First Lady refused to answer a question about campaign fund-raising. The couple, however, made a point of thanking the neighbors and local officials who have had to put up with the Secret Service agents protecting the area and with the media circus that has sprouted up in the town to cover the Clintons.

On their way back to Washington, they stopped off in the town to greet well-wishers and to pose for pictures with the local fire department - a staple for political candidates.

"I'm so glad to be here. We had a great time last night,'' Mrs. Clinton said after she stepped out of a gray Suburban automobile to greet the throng. "We feel so at home already.''

Mrs. Clinton was greeted by some shrieks from the crowd with one well-wisher shouting "Welcome to Chappaqua, Hillary!''
Another held a sign reading: "Hillary's a cutie, Rudy's a doody,'' referring to the New York City mayor who will be Mrs. Clinton's likely Republican opponent in the Senate race.

"Hillary, you're so beautiful,'' gushed one awe-struck woman. "Why thank you,'' answered the First Lady, who looked very much the campaigning politician as she shook peoples' hands and called her husband over to pose with the volunteer firemen.

Townspeople stood shivering in their shirt sleeves, many having run out of their offices along King Street when they saw the presidential motorcade stop on the outskirts of town. They shrugged off the media attention and traffic snarls caused by the first couple.

"Once the novelty wears off, it won't be so bad,'' said one man who works across the street from the fire station.

"It's okay," said a woman. "It means I got to meet the president and that's not bad.''