The sight of two jeans-clad, middle-aged couples chowing down isn't that remarkable, unless the foursome in question happens to be the Gores and the Clintons. Last week, Al and Tipper took Bill and Hillary to R.T.'s, a Cajun restaurant in suburban Virginia, for a quirk meal before attending a Jerry Jeff Walker concert later that evening. (The Vice President's wife made the reservation for four the day before without identifying the guests.) Al ordered his favorite meal, potato skins stuffed with barbecued chicken followed up by pecan-crusted chicken with rock shrimp. Tipper tried the seafood fettuccine, while Bill and Hillary preferred the seafood jambalaya (though the President was tempted by the Arkansas catfish). A Secret Service agent posted in the kitchen eyeballed the President's food every step of the way. "The chef was very nervous while he sauteed," says owner Ralph Davis, who noted that another agent provided the President with his own bottled water.
It's the old story: Once you leave a job, they forget your name at the office. Just ask Jimmy Carter, who has been trying without success to reach Bill Clinton to suggest a potential appointee for the new Administration. "Every time he called the White House, the phone line was busy or he got a recording," reports a family friend. "When he finally managed to get through and announce himself, he was put on hold." Someone suggested that Carter ask his Secret Service agents to relay the message to Clinton's security cadre, but he decided against it.
It's a good thing the former President didn't put his thoughts on paper. The new Administration, trying to uphold its promise to trim the bureaucracy, has laid off 20 career appointees in the White House letters department, leaving an unprecedented backlog of 500,000 unanswered letters. "The mail is just not moving," complains one laid-off veteran in the letters department, "and it's the President's lifeline to the people."
When her husband was Vice President, Marilyn Tucker Quayle was chauffeured everywhere by government drivers. But now, she says gleefully, "I can drive a car again," and boy, can she. Less than a week after her husband left office, Mrs. Quayle's Cutlass convertible was pulled over in Potomac, Md., by police officer Kevin Pugh, who informed her that she was traveling 10 miles over the speed limit of 30 m.p.h. "She was kind of surprised and giggly and embarrassed," recalls Pugh, who let her off with a warning. "She said the [Secret Service] agents told her this might happen." A sheepish Marilyn explains that since the Quayle family had just temporarily moved in with Dan's aunt in Maryland, "I was in a borrowed car, and I didn't know my address and phone number. The officer was awfully kind and understanding."