Aspiring first brother makes rounds of morning talk shows

June 23, 1993|By Boston Globe

NEW YORK -- There he was on early-morning television, the man who says he is Bill Clinton's half-brother. Asked to verify his lineage -- live on the air for the third time since dawn -- Henry Leon Ritzenthaler promptly fell asleep.

Later, revived off-camera by coffee and a smoke, the aspiring first brother was able to pick up where he'd nodded off.

"I just want the president to know he has a brother, and if he chooses to ignore me that's fine," he said. "I don't know what'll come of this, but I don't want to put a black mark on him in any way."

Whatever Mr. Clinton thinks of the claim, the president said he did try to reach Mr. Ritzenthaler yesterday, leaving messages for him in California and New York.

"I'd like to talk to him," Mr. Clinton said in Washington. "Then I'll have a brief statement about it."

It would have been hard for the president to reach the Ritzenthalers yesterday, because the couple spent the day sightseeing. For at least this afternoon, they said, the Empire State Building was higher on their agenda than the White House.

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