NEW YORK (Reuters) - Led by crooner Elvis Costello, supporters of presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton rose to their feet and cheered on Thursday night, the eve of the 60th birthday of the Democrat who aims to become the first woman U.S. president.
Costello, who sang “Happy Birthday Mrs. President” and delivered raucous versions of hit songs including “Pump it Up,” was joined by actor-comedian Billy Crystal, former President Bill Clinton and several members of New York’s Congressional delegation.
Crystal, in a more serious moment during his introduction of the former president, told the fund-raiser’s audience at Manhattan’s Beacon Theater Hillary Clinton’s campaign was one of only three times he had become politically engaged — after the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Bill Clinton’s victory in 1992.
The former president, who took to the stage with daughter Chelsea, got laughs when he recalled the frequent queries about what he would do at the White House if Sen. Clinton wins next year’s election. “I want to co-star with him (Crystal) in a remake of ‘Grumpy Old Men,’” he quipped.
Clinton also lauded the couple’s recent 32nd wedding anniversary, drawing laughs when he said “she was 23 when we met — poor child didn’t know any better.”
But in more serious tones, he stressed his wife’s ability to make human connections, and praised her for her lifelong friendships and loyalties. “I’m so proud of you,” Clinton said as Sen. Clinton took the stage.
Clinton said she was humbled by the prospect of becoming the nation’s first woman president, and said she had been especially moved while campaigning by women in their 80s and 90s who said women couldn’t even vote when they were born, and they only hoped to live to see one become president.
Outlining facets of her campaign, she got perhaps the biggest applause from supporters who paid from $100 to more than $2,000 for tickets, when she promised “we’re going to end President Bush’s war on science,” a reference to Bush’s positions on everything from evolution to stem cell research.