Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on September 3, 1997 · Page 5
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 5

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Wednesday, September 3, 1997
Page 5
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Wednesday, September 3, 1997 The Arizona Republic A7 1 Clintons enjoying : time among jet set ". Social life ripens on Martha's Vineyard By Peter Baker Washington Post MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. The nightclub was hopping. The musicians were playing a Patsy Cline number. And just off stage, just behind the curtain, President Clinton stood and swayed gently, one arm draped affectionately around singer Carly Simon and the other around her daughter, Sally Taylor. It was just another night on the Vineyard vacation trail for Clinton, another night soaking up the company of the famous, the fetching and the fabulously wealthy. As the' president schmoozed with Simon, milling around in the crowd were television mogul Barry Diller, author-humorist Fran Lebowitz and Miramax Films co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. By the fifth year of his presidency, this has become something of a familiar scene, the hobnobbing commander in chief clearly entranced with the glitz and glamour of a social strata that must have seemed beyond him during his coming-of-age days in Arkansas. But after two years of trying to keep such images under wraps for fear of a political backlash, Clinton has enjoyed something of a post-election coming-out this summer, openly and unabashedly spending virtually every evening parrying with the likes of Ted Danson, Sylvester Stallone and Norman Lear, then playing golf with tycoons, investment bankers and executives from corporations such as General Electric and Sony. Many of them are people he has known a relatively short time, such as Richard Friedman, the Boston developer whose island home Clinton first borrowed three years ago, and again this year. Called "the usual cast" by a White House aide, many in the group travel in different circles and don't socialize with each other apart from the Clintons. Few of the Friends of Bill friends who go back as far as college or Arkansas politics and with - whom he networked throughout his career are in evidence. To some extent, every president socializes with the rich and famous. But few of Clinton's recent predecessors have made it such a dominant element of their vacations. Clinton chose a place that, while long a bastion of quiet New England money, has in recent years become a haven for newly minted millionaires and baby boomers at the top of their game. Much like himself. "Maybe he has more of a need, not being from that crowd," George Edwards, director of the Center for Presidential Studies in Texas, said of Clinton. "In Arkansas, being smart and rich is a little different from the rest of the country. . . . Maybe he's making up for lost time." Clinton, a voracious reader and equally avid film buff, can command the attention of those who write the books and make the movies, and some who know him say it's the intellectual stimulation he relishes. "That's fun for them," said Carolyn Staley, a Clinton friend since childhood. She said she sees nothing posturing about the Clintons' interest in celebrities. She said, "It's like, 'Wow!' They sit back and they are fans (mingling) with people who also t ..ara, ; j n Charles KrupaAssociated Press President Clinton interrupts vacation relaxation to take a jog Tuesday. Carry SimonTne pop singer is among the rich and famous and - often new-friends wth whom the Clintons are spending time. TV ( ! look back at them and say, 'Wow!' " One day he's sailing with the Kennedys and dining at the old Jacqueline Onassis estate. The next he's whiling away the hours at author William Styron's house. Then it's off to the country club for a soiree including Walter Cronkite, Katharine Graham, Diane Sawyer and her husband, Mike Nichols, the director whose latest project is the movie version of Primary Colors, the barely fictionalized account of Clinton's 1992 campaign. Simon, Jimmy BufTett and Carole King have crooned for him. Weinstein flew Stallone in to perform a scene from Copland. "I think he really is almost captivated by the Hollywood set," said one prominent Vuieyarder who has partied with Clinton during this vacation and did not want to be named. Clinton came to this resort island 12 miles off the Massachusetts coast for his first two summer vacations as president, before political adviser Dick Morris convinced him "photos of him on a yacht with Jacqueline Onassis did not help his populist image one bit," as the consultant put it in his book, Behind the Oval Office. After polling by Morris, Clinton spent the Augusts of 1995 and 1996 in Jackson Hole, Wyo. 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