Hillary Rodham Clinton spent a quiet 50th birthday Sunday, ensconced at home with her husband and daughter after a surprise party that had her dancing until the wee hours.
The weather in Washington was in the low 50s and damp, which kept the first family firmly indoors. Not a peep came from the White House residence all day; the Clintons didn’t emerge for church or even an impromptu birthday brunch.
In true Washington fashion, Hillary Clinton’s special day was fodder for the Sunday talk shows. ABC-TV’s “This Week” offered a video birthday card in which average Americans politely swore that Hillary Clinton looked much too young to be 50.
“Oh, to be 50 again! Just a kid!” said host Sam Donaldson, 63, as he wished her a happy birthday with a quote from poet Robert Browning: “The best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made.”
Sunday’s low-key activity was in stark contrast to what’s in store for the first lady beginning Monday: A public, two-day celebration in her hometown of Chicago that includes a speech, a chat with a historian, a birthday bash at the Chicago Cultural Center and a TV appearance with talk show maven Oprah Winfrey.
But a relaxed birthday seemed in order because Hillary Clinton began celebrating in the minutes after midnight by taking a few spins around the dance floor during a surprise party at a posh hotel here.
Wearing a red satin evening gown, the first lady got a hint that something was up Saturday night when she and President Clinton left the annual black-tie gala of the National Italian-American Foundation and their limousine suddenly detoured from the White House toward the Sheraton Luxury Collection Hotel on embassy-lined Massachusetts Avenue.