Red, white and blue balloons reminiscent of a political convention decorated the ceiling of the Fountain room at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City on Monday evening. The energy in the room was high and filled with buzz of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for the nomination. The occasion was the launch of the publication of Clinton best pal and golf companion, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s book, “What a Party! My Life among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals.”
The host, Bill Clinton, who McAuliffe describes as the Babe Ruth of American presidents – and admittedly didn’t personally pay the tab for the bash– arrived late sans Senator Clinton as if to build even more anticipation among the group of mostly star-studded democrats.
The former president, looking slim, relaxed and elegant with his thick silver hair, said he’d been working out in the gym. And of course, Clinton understood when McAuliffe, the master fundraiser, who is credited with pulling the Democrats out of debt and is Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, referred to him as “the first President Clinton.”
When I asked President Clinton if he thinks a Hillary presidential victory would impact his legacy, and he’ll be remembered not for his achievements in office, but rather for being the “first First Gentleman,” he laughed and shook his head, “I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t know. I’m just glad Hillary’s running.”
Self-appointed book flack, Bill Clinton, said the book is about the importance of strong convictions. Terry has “an Irish brawl” and “the heart of a child.”
He added, “You’ll laugh, cry and learn.”
“This is not a fundraiser,” Terry exclaimed, “so it’s a bit tacky not to give guests books.” So they did. The author hopes his message resounds: “Political combat need not be moral combat.”
Terry not-so-subtly suggested to film mogul Harvey Weinstein that he make a movie of the book. “Al Sharpton wants to play me,” he exclaimed.
I asked the Rev. Al Sharpton if he’s supporting Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama for president. He hedged: “I’ll let the Democrats decide which one.”
Guy Talese said he’s at work on his next book — this one about his own marriage to Nan.
Leading Authorities’ talk agent Mark French, a self-admitted republican, represents Terry’s counterpart, Ed Gillespie, as well. Gillespie advised:
“Limit Terry to one cup of decaf before going on stage.”
Overheard in the crowd: “That’s Bill O’Reilly. I didn’t realize he’s taller than I am.” And across the room as if size really matters, “That guy shrunk,” pointed to Ed Koch.
“Fox bought me a suit,” quipped Bill O’Reilly. “Otherwise, I’d be in gym clothes.” Cindy Adams was bundled in a fur hat not purchased by Fox. Other familiar faces: Liz Smith, Joe Conason, Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters, Barbaralee Diamondstein Spielvogel, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, and Lisa Caputo. Hillary had other commitment but will be hosting Terry’s book and birthday party next month in D.C.
One guest summed the evening up this way: “This is the most successful political occasion in New York.” It was certainly the most fun! What a party!