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Bill's terms of endearment

From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
HOPE MILLS, N.C. -- Jackals, no. But maybe spies.

In the first time Bill Clinton has ever publicly acknowledged the existence of his small and battle-hardened traveling press corps, President Bill Clinton noted today that his treks through rural America have expanded the horizons of the intrepid reporters who follow him.

"Some of the people that are embedded with me -- that's what you call the press that hafta follow you around," explained the former president, as your NBC reporter and her ABC colleague snapped to disbelieving attention from their seats on the distant press riser. 

"The embeds," he repeated to the audience with a giggle. "Sounds kinda like a spy, doesn't it?"

"Spy" may be more flattering than the terms used behind closed Escalade doors about the reporters who track him. The phrase "media jackals" has recently been bandied about in a recent report about how the one-time president feels about the press members in question. 

"Anyway," he continued in the inaugural shoutout to the campaign reporters who record his every move. "They see more of small-town America than they ever dreamed they would."

From Hope Mills, N.C. (population: 11,237). I have to say that, for once, he's absolutely right.