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CNN Today

President Clinton May Move Office Space to Harlem

Aired February 12, 2001 - 4:33 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: A late report to us here at CNN today regarding one of the controversies surrounding former President Clinton. President Clinton is under fire on a number of fronts, you will note, including his choice of an office, a rather expensive office.

We have CNN's Maria Hinojosa on the telephone line right now from New York -- Maria.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joie, apparently, the president, President Clinton, is looking to perhaps make a move -- his original offices that he was going to take here in New York City, on 57th Street, quite a posh address. He apparently has been looking very seriously at a building on 125th Street in the middle of Harlem, right off of 5th Avenue: quite a different set of circumstances here.

It's a 12-story building sitting next to an abandoned four-story brownstone and a Rite Aid with a woman's hair salon next to it.

So apparently, from what we do know, is that the president looked very closely at this building, and perhaps tomorrow morning he may be making an announcement about signing on. This is a building where he would take a full floor, that according to Congressman Charles Rangel, who helped President Clinton think about doing this.

It has all of the amenities: a private elevator, a private bathroom, wonderful views. And the congressman said also, great jazz spots that are open until -- all hours of the night, in case the president decides he wants to pick his saxophone again -- Joie.

CHEN: Maria, I understand that there had been some development in Harlem, that there had been some renovation of certain areas and building some new facilities there as well.

Is this in any way tied to those kinds of areas?

HINOJOSA: Well, Harlem has experienced an extraordinary resurgence. Harlem, which was at some point considered by some people an area where it might be considered dangerous, really now Harlem at any time of the day or night feels like it's any other neighborhood in New York City, 42th Street, Times Square. It's open 24 hours. There is extraordinary renovation.

You have a Magic Johnson movie theater. You have an Old Navy store. You have a New York Sports Club.

Really, Harlem is a -- is a community that serves every one from those who are on public assistance all the way to millionaires, who can -- can now afford and want to live in Harlem.

CHEN: And at this point, the former president is just thinking about this, right? There's no commitment specifically.

HINOJOSA: There -- yes, the deal has not been signed yet. Congressman Rangel would only tell us that he hopes that tomorrow morning the president makes an announcement that he was decided to go with this building. Congressman Rangel told us that then this way Harlem can also be called Clintontown. He said that this is, after so much of the, according to Congressman Rangel, so much of the Clintons being eaten up by the press, they want them to come home: not only President Clinton, but he said this is also Hillary Clinton, now Senator Hillary Clinton's political home as well.

And when I asked the congressman, well, what about the concern that this may be diverting attention from the president's controversy over the pardons, and Congressman Rangel said, "I hope it does."

CHEN: All right. CNN's Maria Hinojosa on the telephone line with us from New York.

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