New York: Bill Clinton celebrated his 70th birthday in style at the plush Rainbow Room in Manhattan earlier this month and had a few friends along.
Bono, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn and Chelsea Clinton were among the luminaries present, and I was lucky enough to be among the 200 or so guests.
The event doubled as a fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation, and I found myself wondering how we never hear about the incredible work on AIDS in China, hunger in Africa and hope in Haiti which the foundation does rather than the groundless influence peddling claims.
Certainly, compared to the Trump Foundation which spent money on a huge portrait of The Donald, the contrast could not be clearer.
In person Clinton looks much better than in previous years when he had grown quite thin after his heart scare and a macrobiotic diet. Now he looks like there’s an occasional steak or burger mixed in, and the weight gain suits him.
Denis O'Brien, the Irish businessman who has been Clinton’s partner in Haiti where together they have done amazing work, was one of the speakers on the night.
O’Brien thanked Clinton for his foundation’s important work in Haiti and also for Clinton’s role in the Irish peace process which continues to grow in stature as the truth unfolds in the fullness of time about the role he played.
Bono also spoke and recalled talking to former Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who was critical to the peace process. Reynolds told Bono the American president gave him his phone number and told him to call him day or night. He could hardly believe the most powerful leader on earth had given him such access -- and he found himself using it, day and night, during crisis times.
In the run up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998, the lynchpin for the whole process, Clinton stayed up nights in the White House trying to get the deal across the line.
Someone at the time said he was a father figure, conciliator, prudent politician, persuader in chief and, above all, guarantor of the peace agreement.
The Irish peace process revealed Clinton’s incredible political instincts. He was unafraid to jump into a centuries old conflict, and by sheer force of will he helped bring about an agreement.
Clinton applied the same doggedness throughout his own political career of course, beating back his enemies on the right and emerging as a vastly popular political figure despite the phony impeachment at the end of his presidency.
Now, like the old warhorse he is, Clinton is intent on one last charge as Hillary makes her historic bid for the presidency.
He has taken on the unfamiliar role of surrogate and first mate rather than captain on this particular voyage. She will need all his political nous and insight as well as his ability to reach wavering voters.
This is a desperately tight race, and it is clear from the Clinton circle they view it as such. Any false notes about a runaway victory have been banished.
Despite all their massive efforts, however, Republicans have never beaten the Clintons, not in three elections (two presidential, and Hillary’s New York Senate race) not by impeachment, not by massive smears.
I don't think they will start now, especially with such a wacko candidate in Donald Trump.
Cracked he may be, but the rigid right are forming a campaign of such hate, mistrust and vitriol aimed at Hillary that many are confused.
It will be up to Hillary to dispel that confusion starting with next week's debate. She should win. After all, she will have a legendary coach and husband in her corner.