Spot Bush and the Glories and Scandals of Other Canines in Chief

(Page 3 of 4)

Pet controversies are as old as the White House itself. Abraham Lincoln's mutt, Fido, suffered a shocking fate, much like his master: He was knifed to death in the street by a drunk who became angry when the dog jumped on him with muddy paws.

Rowan recounts the story of John Roll, Lincoln's neighbor from Springfield, Ill., who wrote the Lincoln family in Washington, reporting that the "poor yellow dog was assinated [sic] just like his illustrious master."

Maybe it's just true that some dogs and masters take on each other's lives. John F. Kennedy's terrier, Charlie, had a notorious Cold War romance with the Soviet dog Nikita Khrushchev gave the president — resulting in a litter of four pups.

Of course, master politicians can use their pets effectively. Richard Nixon effectively used his dog Checkers to deflect accusations that he had received improper campaign gifts during his vice-presidential campaign in 1952.

"Someone in Texas had sent us a little black-and-white cocker spaniel puppy. My daughter had named it Checkers … and I said that regardless of what anyone said about it, I was going to keep it," Nixon said.

Unfortunately, the dog died before Nixon became president. Bye-Bye, Buddy

Attention scandal mongers and Clinton antagonists: The outgoing president did admit that he shared his bed with a dog while the first lady was out campaigning. And that dog was Buddy.

"I've got a friend," Clinton told White House reporters. "He sleeps with me when Hillary's not here. He's my true friend. We have a great time."

While Buddy will get to romp on the Clintons' new $1.7 million estate in Chappaqua, N.Y., and their $2.85 million mansion on Embassy Row in Washington, Socks the cat is getting the boot.

Socks and Buddy never got along well, and the kitty is now expected to be adopted by Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, who lives in the suburbs of Virginia.

The 9-year-old cat belonged to Chelsea, who found the black-and-white pussy under her piano teacher's porch in Little Rock.