Hillary Clinton feted by Hollywood for birthday
NEW YORK, New York (Reuters) -- Hollywood's elite and music stars feted First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday in a 53rd birthday bash that pumped $2 million into her New York Senate campaign and poked fun at politicians across the board.
Actors Robert De Niro, Chevy Chase, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Ben Affleck, Nathan Lane and music stars Cher and the Rev. Al Green were among the star-studded cast for the "Birthday Celebration for Hillary," with President Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker.
Cher arrived fashionably late, putting comic actor Chevy Chase on the spot, who joked the famous star was having "last-minute liposuction." Master of Ceremonies, actor Nathan Lane, said Cher was delayed because the police officer escorting her had locked his keys in his car.
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"It's kind of like waiting for Godot," said Mrs. Clinton shortly before Cher arrived 20 minutes late to serenade the first lady, whose real birthday is actually on Thursday.
"So I'm the late Cher, I'm really sorry Hill," Cher told the first lady.
Each guest paid at least $10,000 to watch actors rib leading political players and hear Al Green sing "Lets Stay Together."
A highlight was when De Niro tried to teach the president how to say "forget about it" in a heavy New York accent to which Clinton replied, quoting a De Niro line from "Taxi Driver": "You talkin' to me?"
In another comedy set, actors from Saturday Night Live interviewed an out of work "Clinton" for a place in a New York apartment building, telling him his legal fees of $40 million and salary of $200,000 a year did not help his application.
Tom Cruise is surprise guest
After being introduced by Tom Cruise as "one of the greatest leaders of the United States," Clinton joked that De Niro and Cruise made more money in eight minutes than he had made in eight years as president.
He then paid tribute to his wife and told the audience how he had first met her when he was a "scruffy, stylistically challenged guy" in the Yale Law Library and she walked up to him from across the room and introduced herself.
"I couldn't even remember my name," Clinton recalled, saying the first lady's forward approach proved she had the "requisite aggression" to be a true New Yorker.
"If you just keep working for 13 more days, she is going to make you profoundly proud," said Clinton of his wife's Senate bid against Rep. Rick Lazio. "On top of that, she looks pretty good to be 53 years old," he added, to laughter.
The first lady joked she had told some people she was 43 years old, conceding this was "fuzzy math," a reference to comments by Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush over Democratic choice Al Gore's economic plan.
"I will work hard for you. I will pick up your dry-cleaning and do the dusting and vacuuming," Mrs. Clinton told the crowd, in reference to a spoof video introduced by Affleck.
On a more serious note, Mrs. Clinton urged people to "get out the vote," saying that there was still a lot of work to do before election day on November 7.
"Spend these next 12 days trying to get people out to vote," the first lady said.
The gala event followed a hectic week in which the president has crisscrossed New York state to raise funds for his wife's campaign and to boost support for Gore in his own White House bid.
Gore, who is in a statistical dead heat with Bush, has been reluctant to pull Clinton out on the campaign trail, wanting to be seen as "my own man" and fearing voter fallout from the impeachment scandal that dogged Clinton's presidency.
Clinton held two other fundraisers Wednesday, one for Rep. Gregory Meeks, which raised $300,000 and another for the New York Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee which brought in $1 million.
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