WASHINGTON, DC–President Clinton is still 10 months away from leaving the White House, but Al Gore is already regretting his promise to help him move out, the vice-president admitted Monday.
"I am not looking forward to that, let me tell you," said Gore, surveying the four large couches and three oak desks that adorn the East Room. "As Bill's vice-president and good friend, I try to help him out with stuff whenever he asks, but that is going to be one serious bitch of a move."
Gore made the promise last summer while talking to Clinton about his own plans to live in the 132-room residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"I told him I was thinking about running for president, and he said I could expect his full support if I did. But then, right at the very end of the conversation, he slips in, 'Oh, by the way, are you going to be free on moving day?'" Gore said. "That's so Bill: He totally waited until I needed his political backing before asking me."
Gore's reluctance to help Clinton stems from the bad experience he had helping him move in January 1993.
"What a complete nightmare," Gore said. "I swear, by the end of the day, I wanted to kill him."
Gore said the entire afternoon was spent collecting boxes from Little Rock-area supermarkets and liquor stores, getting stuck on the stairs of the Arkansas governor's mansion with a "humongous" CD rack that Clinton was unwilling to disassemble in order to move, and trying to pack all of the president-elect's things into one small U-Haul trailer and the back of Gore's station wagon.
"Bill's a great guy, and I love him to pieces, but he is just so unbelievably disorganized," Gore said. "I called him the night before [the move], and he said he'd be ready if I showed up at his place at around noon, but when I got there, he still hadn't even gotten everything packed yet. Right then and there, I knew I was in for a long day."
Continued Gore: "Bill said George [Stephanopoulos] and James [Carville] were supposed to help, too, but lo and friggin' behold, something magically came up for both of them. George said he had a meeting with Ron Brown he forgot about, and James made up some lame excuse about having to appear on Face The Nation. So, of course, it was just me and Bill, hauling stuff up and down that huge spiral staircase until, like, three in the morning. He bought me dinner as a way of saying thanks, but a couple of slices of pepperoni hardly makes up for 15 hours of back-breaking labor."
According to Clinton administration insiders, moving the president out will be much more difficult than moving him in.
"Bill will have been here eight years, so he's piled up a lot of stuff," White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said. "And it's heavy stuff, too, like that statue of a warrior the Chinese premier gave him a few years back. And he's got, like, a million politics books. He asked me to help him move, but I told him I had a cousin's wedding. No way I'm getting stuck doing that."
Other administration officials have avoided helping the president, as well, including Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Attorney General Janet Reno, and Defense Secretary William Cohen, who told Clinton that the Pentagon would be "totally slammed" during the transfer of power and that he would be working double shifts all week.
"I just know it's going to be only me again," Gore said. "And what can I expect in return? Well, Bill swore he'd help me move in if I got elected, but I'm trailing Bush in the latest polls, so with my luck I'll be helping him for nothing."