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Clinton Wows Influential Progressives

A small group of influential figures in the progressive community shared a meal with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) last Wednesday as part of an ongoing series of gatherings with Democratic presidential candidates.

The group, which is headed by former America Coming Together executive director Steve Rosenthal and Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards, joined Clinton at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill for the rap session.

And, according to one participant, she wowed the group of 15.

"You expect Senator Clinton to be the smartest kid in the class, but she was also funny and totally at ease," said the source, who was granted anonymity to speak about a private meeting. "She is clearly comfortable with herself and having fun."

It's that fun-loving side that Clinton needs to let out in front of voters. During her trip to New Hampshire this weekend, she showed flashes of humor as well as an extremely quick wit. Clinton insiders regularly refer to their candidate as "the most famous person in America who no one knows" and argue that as the campaign wears on voters will begin to see that she is far more normal than many people now believe.

"It was a great dinner with a great group of people who are fighting every day on the front lines for progressive values and ideals," said Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson.

We first wrote about the Rosenthal/Prewitt group way back in October 2005. At the time, Rosenthal said the goal of the dinners was to "provide an opportunity for progressive leaders and potential candidates to let their hair down and get to know each other a little better."

Since that time, the group has huddled with a number of current, former and rumored candidates including: Clinton, John Edwards, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner, and Wesley Clark.

Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) will meet with the group on Feb. 27. Invitations have been sent to Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Joe Biden (Del.).

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 14, 2007; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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