Bill Clinton: Still Talking After All These Years
The more things change, the more Bill Clinton.....talks. And talks. And talks.
The country's "first black president" until the real one came along was the big hit at the Fairfax Hotel Monday night, where he held court near the entrance, lecturing Doris Kearns Goodwin about progressive voting patterns and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett about ... well, we couldn't really hear over the din, but he did most of the talking and she nodded and said, "That's exactly right." Very diplomatic of her.
The Clintons -- Bill, Chelsea, and Hillary (who arrived separately with a big security detail) -- were rock stars at the inaugural bash hosted by Vernon and Ann Jordan, Buffy and Bill Cafritz, Robert and Kelly Day and former Miss America Phyllis George. Local VIPs -- overwhelmed by Obamania -- behaved like pre-teen groupies at a Jonas Brothers concert. And all this was without an appearance by the actual president-elect. "I've seen plenty of inaugurals," said Rita Braver. "I've never seen anything like this."
Dr. Ruth rushed poor Hillary, who's back to wearing black pantsuits. (Time to step it up, Madame Secretary-Designate!) Who else? Yo-Yo Ma, Ron Silver, Carl Bernstein, Ron Silver, Brian Williams, and Lynda Carter.
Many came from the party for Gwen Ifill's new book, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." Tom Brokaw, Judy Woodruff, David Brooks, Andrea Mitchell and more A-listers packed into the home of David and Katherine Bradley, clutching multiple copies for Ifill to sign. Maureen Dowd squeezed through the crowd, still looking a little shell-shocked from the mob scene at her house Sunday night. So many guests ("I have no idea how many," she told us) that Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck couldn't get past the front entrance. So many that Bruce Springsteen drove up, saw the hordes, and sped away.
"I'm never giving another party," she declared. "Ever."
Hillary left the Fairfax around midnight, but Bill was still talking when we left at 12:30 a.m. for the late-night party at Art & Soul restaurant on Capitol Hill owned by Oprah's former personal chef, Art Smith.(They're still tight: She's taking the place over to tape her show Wednesday.)
Waiters passed fried chicken pieces, mini pulled pork sandwiches and mini cupcakes through a crowd -- hip, well-dressed, exuding cool -- of Chicago and Obama insiders: fashion designer Maria Pinto, new White House decorator Michael Smith and celeb chefs Alice Waters, Rock Harper, Spike Mendelsohn and Tom Colicchio.
In a quiet corner: Desirée Rogers, new White House social secretary, looking very low-key in a navy jacket and cream pants. "I had on a Louis Vuitton dress with a big tulle thing in the back," she explained, but ... well, the skirt got caught in the car door, so she did a quick change and still looked impossibly chic. "Desiree is really the most stylish woman in Chicago," said pal M. K. Pritzker.
The party was still going strong at 2 a.m., when guests were faced with a choice: Head home before the roads close or sleep on one of the banquettes. We picked home, but grabbed a mini corn dog on the way out.
The Reliable Source
January 20, 2009; 3:06 PM ET
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