New York Democrats celebrate Hillary's victory
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton waves on Sunday at a New York State Democratic Committee event celebrating her swearing-in to the U.S.Senate
From CNN White House Producer Christy Darden
NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City welcomed its newest senator back to the state for the first time since her official swearing-in last week, with a fete fit more for a queen than a junior Democratic senator.
Following tributes from writer Toni Morrison and singers Jesse Norman and Billy Joel, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was introduced to an eager group of New York Democrats by none other than President Bill Clinton, whom Vice President Al Gore jokingly called the "most instantly recognizable member of the Senate spouse club."
The event, complete with another mock swearing-in by Gore, marked the first time that the president and the vice president have appeared in public together since the election.
President Clinton took advantage of the opportunity to say he was "so proud" of the Gores and to thank the vice president for his "strength of character" amid the disputed presidential contest.
Gore also mentioned the marathon campaign with a touch of humor.
President nostalgic about White House tenure
"I'd just like to take a moment to congratulate you, Senator Clinton," said Gore, "not only on winning, not only on all the votes you received, but on getting your votes counted and finishing the race on time and actually winning it."
On a more serious note, Gore introduced the president as "a great leader and a great friend, someone who gave me the opportunity to serve as an ally in that remarkable eight-year journey to a better America."
President Clinton, who was greeted with spirited cheers and applause at the podium, also waxed nostalgic about his time in office.
When Clinton mentioned his impending departure from the White House, the audience began to boo. "You can boo about the nature of the transfer, but not about me giving it up," he said. "I've had my time and I had a very good time."
For her part, Sen. Clinton, who was also accompanied by daughter Chelsea, thanked the people of New York, her family and the Gores for their support and pledged to uphold the promises of her campaign and fight for New Yorkers.
"I will not rest until we can look any child in this state in the eye and say, 'We are giving you equality of educational opportunity; now it is up to you to do the rest with your teachers and your parents and your community,'" she said.
The president applauded New Yorkers for electing his wife as he recalled how she impressed him with her capacity for public service when they met in 1971.
"I can tell you this: You will not be disappointed, because I was right about her 30 years ago," he said.