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Clinton Returns to Senate

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) landed with great fanfare in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, with colleagues welcoming her warmly and onlookers simply gawking at the spectacle. Arriving almost 30 minutes after Vice President Cheney came to the chamber to attend the weekly policy luncheons, Clinton, wearing a wide smile, shook hands as she climbed the steps leading to the Senate. Before Clinton’s arrival, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that Clinton has “lots of fans and friends, very good friends.” She was greeted with open arms from the most avid supporters of her failed presidential bid. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) met her at the door, exchanging hugs and kisses. Upon seeing Clinton, Mikulski roared, “We need you. We’re glad to have you back.” Clinton then shook more hands and proceeded to the Democratic luncheon to numerous applause and a standing ovation. Clinton’s return was a vast coordinated effort with Clinton’s Senate office, Capitol Police, Secret Service and even the Capitol press staff, as many interns, staffers, tourists and even Fox’s Greta Van Susteren crowded to see the New York Senator. Clinton is expected to cross paths at some point this week with her rival for the Democratic nod and the winner of that contest, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). She arrived back in Washington just in time to cast key votes on the war supplemental, the housing bill and a measure to continue wiretapping of terrorist suspects. The former first lady is likely to be greeted equally forcefully on the other side of the Hill from her House supporters and detractors. Clinton will address the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday morning, Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) announced Tuesday at the group’s regularly scheduled weekly meeting. “Members are really looking forward to hearing from Sen. Clinton tomorrow,” said Brendan Daly, communications director for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). It remains unclear when Obama will address House Democrats. He met with Senate Democrats last week.

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