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Poll-crazed Bill Clinton even polled on his dog's name

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Politics,White House,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Polls

Former President Bill Clinton required up to 60 polls a year to determine everything from his positions to vacation destinations and even polled on his Labrador retriever Buddy, according to a new book from U.S. News White House correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh.

In "Prisoners of the White House, the Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership," the long-serving presidential reporter quotes a 1998 memo to Clinton from his pollster about how the public viewed Buddy versus other big stories of the new year.

"The gang did not want me to share some holiday fun for fear it would get out," wrote pollster Mark Penn, "but the number one story is in fact the acquisition of a dog, edging out the Bosnia troop visit by one point."

Walsh wrote: "85 percent of Americans were 'aware of the new puppy,' Penn reported, and 56.7 percent approved of the name given to the canine, Buddy. 'Only 16 percent think the Clinton family should get another pet,' the memo said."

Walsh added, "The fact that the pollsters saw fit to test these propositions, and then present the findings to the commander in chief, shows how deeply Clinton craved polling information on virtually every topic."

The Clinton's got Buddy in December 1997. Almost exactly four years later, Buddy was struck and killed near the Clinton's New York home.