Cocktails with Clinton

Risë Birnbaum

Hillary Clinton and I are soooo tight.  OK, strike that, maybe not “soooo” tight, but, I did get a chance to chat a bit, shake hands, look into those intense blue eyes and see her in action, up close and personal.  This all took place at a beautiful home in Washington, D.C., under sunny skies with ample glasses of rosé, small plates of roasted veggies and various salume.  Yum.

The first part of the evening was a little shoulder-rubbing with (and in my case, rubbernecking of) some D.C. elite.  The home was large, art-filled and beautiful.  After about a half hour of cocktails and conversation, we were guided into a room where we had the opportunity to quickly chat and take a photo with Hillary.  I mentioned to her that I was friends with her son-in-law’s cousin, and she knew exactly who that was.  I’ve met Hillary twice before at various events, and one thing that stands out is that when she locks eyes with you, you firmly believe for those 20-odd seconds that she is standing on this planet just for you.  Call it what you will, but I call it a phenomenal asset that is hard to come by.  If I had to shake hands with 100 people, by number 30, I’d probably be dozing off.

No dozing during her speech, that’s for sure.  She spoke on the outdoor patio near the pool for nearly a half hour.  And it was just what I wanted to hear from her.  She reinforced the need for more funding for early education, discussed the challenges of climate change and its danger, as well as the need to both align with foreign leaders and be wary of some.   One thing is for sure, I’m not sure Hillary has any room left in her passport for more stamps.  She sure has foreign affairs down pat.

I do not think of her as a hawk (despite the fact she voted for the Iraq war, which was a mistake) but rather as a seasoned politician who is extremely capable. What was my take away from the event?  A higher regard for Hillary as a politician, grandmother and future leader.  And just as an aside…she looks damn good in person.

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