US Version of By-Election Tests Clinton's Popularity

IT may not quite have the importance of a by-election in a parliamentary system, but yesterday's United States Senate run-off election in Georgia contained plenty of significance for the incoming Democratic administration. President-elect Clinton put his political capital on the line by campaigning earlier this week for Sen. Wyche Fowler (D), who faced a spirited challenge from Republican Paul Coverdell.

The newly elected president took the stump once more to urge Georgians to return Senator Fowler to Washington in order to "break this gridlock." At a stop in Macon, Mr. Clinton delighted the audience by borrowing a saxophone after his speech to sit in with the Central High School band. As he played the tune of "Hey, Baby," the people sang, "Hey, Bill, will you be my prez?," instead of "Hey, baby will you be my girl?"

Fowler narrowly missed winning reelection outright on Nov. 3, getting 49 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Coverdell and 3 percent for a Libertarian candidate. If Fowler won yesterday's election, Democrats would increase their edge in the next Senate by one seat, for a 58-to-42 advantage. Perotmania on the loose in Pine Tree State

It may be three weeks after the presidential election, but the returns are still rolling in. The latest count from Maine contains good news for Ross Perot: He edged President Bush by several hundred votes to place second in the Pine Tree State. According to returns released Monday, Clinton was Maine's overall winner, claiming 263,420, or 38.7 percent of the state's popular vote and all four of its electoral votes. Mr. Perot placed second with 206,820 votes, or 30.4 percent. Mr. Bush was close behind with

206,504, or 30.3 percent, said Secretary of State Bill Diamond.

That makes Maine one of only two states where the independent candidate finished higher than third. The other was Utah, where Perot finished second behind Bush. Nationwide, Perot drew about 19 percent of the vote, while Clinton got 43 percent, and Bush scored 38 percent. What color will the next house be?

Where does an ex-president live? Anywhere he wants to, of course. And soon-to-be-ex-President Bush apparently wants to set up housekeeping in his adopted home state of Texas. The Bushes are expected to return to Tanglewood, an affluent west Houston neighborhood where they've lived previously and where they currently own a small vacant lot.

Developed in the late 1950s, Tanglewood includes about 1,200 ranch homes, of which at least 112 are for sale. Most real estate experts expect the Bushes to buy a four-bedroom house priced from $500,000 to $800,000. "The information we have is they are not looking at terribly large homes," says realtor Beth Wolff. But, she added, "one would certainly think they would need a substantial home to be comfortable at this point." Only 56 shopping days left until the inauguration

With department stores already decked out in Christmas decorations, is it any wonder that, in Washington, preparations for the Jan. 20 inauguration are in full swing? Musical arrangements already have been made: Marvin Curtis, the Virginia Union University's director of choral activities, has been asked to compose an anthem for President-elect Clinton's accession to office. His work will be performed by the Philander Smith Collegiate Choir of Little Rock, Ark.

Mr. Curtis said his work, "The City on the Hill," incorporates African-American music and long European choral anthems, such as those by Handel. It will, presumably, take the place of "Don't Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow)," a song by Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie that served as the unofficial anthem of the Clinton-Gore campaign.

Another giant stride taken toward the inauguration.... President-elect Clinton has ordered two pairs of shoes from the Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corporation in Port Washington, Wis. For the Trivial Pursuit buffs out there, this information is vital: Clinton has ordered a $230 pair of black calfskin plain-toe shoes and a $220 black patent-leather model, both in size 13-D. They are to be ready by Jan. 20.

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