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Bill Clinton: Still Talking After All These Years

Valerie Jarrett and Bill Clinton share a laugh at Vernon Jordan's and Buffy Cafritz's pre-inaugural party Monday. (Jim Brantley)

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.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 20, 2009; 3:06 PM ET
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Your inexcusable, petty, nasty comments about President Clinton are an embarrassment. Grow up.

Posted by: stephanie2 | January 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Snark does not become you. I am so sick and tired of stupid media types denegrading Bill Clinton. And for what?? For having something to say as opposed to dimwitted pundit wannabes such as yourself who have done absolutely nothing to better the world.

Posted by: | January 20, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Do these people expect President Clinton simply to stand there and say nothing? Giving the authors the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were just trying to be sarcastically funny. If not, they're exhibiting the usual irrational, accusatory, disapproving attitude which they all have toward the Clintons and Al Gore. That attitude led the corporate mainstream media to help get George W. Bush close enough to actual election that the Supreme Court could appoint him to the office, much to the detriment of our country and the world. I wish they'd forget about campaign "narratives" (read fictions) and simply report the facts honestly, not making anything up, and when they have opinions to state their opinions, rather than making up a campaign "narrative" and then ignoring and making up "facts" and fixing them around the narrative (If that sounds familiar, it's a paraphrase of the Downing Street Memo). The Republicans and the mainstream media have much in common.

Posted by: ejs2 | January 21, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Good grief. Cheap shots aimed at Bill Clinton. Oh, but this is a gossip column so you can make crap up. Too bad it isn't interesting crap, just the same old... *yawn*

Posted by: bjharrelson | January 22, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

You reporters are stupid twats.

Posted by: Nurse_Tabby | January 22, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I can be as big a bitch as anyone, but the comments about Clinton are really gratuitously vicious. This kind of commentary has done real damage to our country. It's the same attitude that got Al Gore falsely tarred as an outrageous liar and unforgiveable bore, which undoubtedly tipped the scales enough to put Bush in office, and I hardly have to point out the wreckage left for Obama to deal with.

Journalists need to think -- I mean, seriously soul-search -- about the impact they have, and perhaps contrast it with the ideals they once had when they entered this sullied and tattered profession.

Posted by: foggymom | January 22, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Amy and Roxanne, that picture says it all. We all know Clinton likes to talk, but it's apparent that people like to listen. The man is a great speaker. Get over it.

Posted by: citi407 | January 24, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

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