Clintons set off house-hunting

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IN ONE of their few joint excursions, Bill and Hillary Clinton set off from Camp David yesterday for a spot of post-presidential house- hunting. Their destination was Westchester County, the green and pleasant land of the sought-after commuter belt north of Manhattan.

After rejecting Manhattan as too complicated for security, too hostile for neighbours, and too expensive, Mrs Clinton settled on Westchester, which has good transport links to Manhattan and golf-courses galore.

After viewing several houses priced above $3m (pounds 1.8m), the First Lady lowered her sights, reportedly viewing a more modest house with only seven bedrooms in a less fashionable part of the county. The price tag? A mere $1.7m.

Now that she is seriously considering a run for the Senate from New York, Mrs Clinton needs somewhere to live in that state - and fast. Established residency, while not a requirement, should help defuse charges that she is a "carpet-bagger".

Raising the money, however, will not be simple. The Clintons are in debt for $4m - the proportion of their estimated $10m in lawyers' fees that has not so far been met by contributions to their legal defence fund. Even with lucrative speaking engagements for Mr Clinton when he leaves the White House, their income is hardly guaranteed. Newsweek magazine went so far as to scan the Internet to find the Clintons a mortgage, but could not come up with a lender.