Vamping for Clinton

Posted January 18, 2009 at 5:06pm

Women and a (very) few of the men who love them in power gathered at the Washington Hilton Sunday afternoon to cheer on elected leaders of the female persuasion.

There were plenty of cheers for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as well as new Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.) — but the crowd was clearly waiting eagerly to hear from the biggest celeb, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

And waiting … and waiting. Clinton was the final of 11 speakers at the luncheon, sponsored by the Democratic fundraising group EMILY’s List, and when word came that Clinton was delayed in her trip from New York to Washington (de-icing problems in New York; traffic here), the final speakers started stretching out their remarks to give the secretary of State designee time to arrive.

Hagan told stories. EMILY’S List President Ellen Malcolm threatened to get out a guitar and play old campfire songs.

Some in the crowd got fidgety; a few left. Malcolm started talking about 2012. Finally, Clinton arrived. Cheers erupted. She thanked Malcolm for keeping the crowd entertained while they waited. “She said she was vamping for you — the lady in red — I’m sure she did it very well,” Clinton said, referring to Malcolm’s crimson top.

Clinton was clearly the toast of the event, but Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) was a surprise crowd favorite. She praised Pelosi by calling her “General Pelosi” and thumping a tall black stiletto on the podium while pronouncing, “Not only is she stomping out injustice — she’s stomping it out in four-inch heels!”

Moore also greeted Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), the designate to be the next secretary of Labor, with a fist bump.