the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Posts Tagged ‘Marc Mezvinsky

Bill Clinton’s Marital Tips to Newlyweds

leave a comment »

Bill Clinton is a romantic at heart.

The former president penned a letter dated Aug. 8, 2007, to Sarah Fortune McGregor and Jeremy Todd Gill, congratulating them on their nuptials. It wasn’t just any Arkansas wedding, though.

McGregor and Gill decided to marry in the Fayetteville house where Bill and Hillary Clinton tied the knot. They were the first couple to do so since the famous political couple married there in October 1975. The couple’s friend had a connection to Clinton and presented them with the letter as a wedding gift.

“We wanted a place that was intimate and that we could make our own,” Sarah Gill says. “It’s right by campus, so I drove past it quite a bit and one day I thought to just give the [Clinton House] Museum a call. The way it happened was very similar to how Bill and Hillary ended up in the house, which I love.”

Indeed, Bill drove Hillary past the house in May 1975 on the way to the airport for her trip to the East Coast to visit friends. When she returned, he told her he had bought her dream house and popped the question.

Bill Clinton plans to visit the 1930s English style house on August 11 – the Gills’ third wedding anniversary.

Sarah Gill met Clinton before her marriage when he dropped into the library where she was working during a visit to northwest Arkansas. Her dream is to meet the former president in the house where they both married .

In the letter, Bill wrote that he and Hillary wish them the best. “Your lives will be richer and happier because you have chosen each other,” he wrote. “May the coming years bring the abundant laughter in the good times, courage in the tough times, growing wisdom, and an enduring love.”

Clinton told the young couple to treasure the memories they made at the house on their wedding day just as he and Hillary still do.

When Sarah and Jeremy married, then Sen. Hillary Clinton e-mailed a quote via Mo Elleithee, who worked as Hillary Clinton’s spokesman for her exploratory presidential campaign, to the local newspaper about the wedding: “The home may be small but it is filled with lots of love and tremendous memories. It is so touching to me that they chose to start their lives together there. I wish them much love and happiness as they start this journey together.”

The Clinton home is much cheaper to rent than, say, Astor Courts where Chelsea Clinton plans to marry Marc Mezvinsky Saturday in Rhinebeck, N.Y., in what has been estimated as a $2 million wedding. Couples can rent the grounds — house included — for $150 an hour. Granted, the wedding would have to be intimate. The backyard garden can seat 100 people comfortably with about 50 in the house at any time.

Sarah Gill had her picture snapped in her wedding dress beside the replica of Hillary’s dress. She also posed in front of a picture of a young Bill Clinton, offering him a champagne toast.

“The wedding was very casual just like Bill and Hillary’s,” Gill says. “It was great, and we were part of history.”


Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding: Making Bill Clinton Long for Arkansas?

leave a comment »

Is Chelsea Clinton’s wedding making Bill Clinton nostalgic?

Maybe so.

According to Kate Johnson, director of the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the former president plans an August visit to the house where he and Hillary Rodham married and first lived as a couple in 1975.

Clinton will combine the visit with a trip to northwest Arkansas for the dedication of a courtyard at the University of Arkansas in honor of his friend, law school Dean Richard Atkinson, who died in 2005. The former president is also scheduled to attend a breakfast and luncheon while in Arkansas, Johnson said.

Johnson said specific plans for a visit to his former house are up in the air until after Chelsea’s wedding.

In May 1975, Bill Clinton was driving his future wife and secretary of state to the airport when the couple passed the 1930s English-style house on California Street, about half a mile from the university campus. She said she liked the house where Gilbert and Roberta Fulbright Swanson once lived. Roberta Swanson was Arkansas Sen. William J. Fulbright’s younger sister. Gilbert Swanson invented the famous chicken pot pie and frozen TV dinners.

When Hillary returned from the East Coast that June, Bill Clinton told her that he had bought her dream house. They married in the house that October.

Unlike Chelsea’s grand wedding, Bill and Hillary invited only a small group of friends and family. Their friends Morris and Ann Henry hosted a reception. Bill and Hillary lived in the house for the first year of their marriage. In 1976, Bill Clinton became the state’s attorney general and the couple moved to Little Rock.

The cozy 1,800-square-foot house, which is on the National Register of Historic places and now a museum, is experiencing an uptick in visitors, thanks to Chelsea’s wedding to Marc Mezvinsky this Saturday.

“We have about 200 people a month who come to visit,” Johnson told Politics Daily. “You never know where they will be from. Yesterday, we had people from Egypt. That was the first time we had had visitors from Egypt. During the Wal-Mart shareholder meeting it was single file through here. It’s amazing how many foreigners want to come here to see the home.”

The museum features a replica of Hillary’s Victorian-style Jessica McClintock wedding dress that she bought the night before her wedding. Johnson says the future first lady and Cabinet secretary paid $53 for it.

The Clinton Museum House is going full speed in making the site a must-see destination for Clinton addicts. The house is part of the state’s “Billgrimage,” which also includes Clinton’s birthplace home in Hope, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Old State House museum in Little Rock where he announced his candidacy for president, and a YMCA in Hot Springs, where Clinton’s high school jazz trio, The Three Kings, once played.

In early August, the Fayetteville City Council will vote on a proposal to change the name of the street in front of Bill and Hillary’s wedding home from California Street to Clinton Boulevard. This will make the house, which sits amid homes and apartment complexes for college students, easier to find.

The city’s advertising and promotion commission manages the non-profit house, which is owned by the University of Arkansas, with tax revenue from hotels and restaurants.

Some FOBs think that the state should assist with the house, especially since it is where Hillary, a political star in her own right, began her life with Bill.

“The Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville should be an Arkansas State Historic Site,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock and a longtime FOB. “While it is now on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the place where President Clinton and Secretary Clinton married and lived. Arkansas does not have a state historic site or park honoring these two remarkable people, and it needs to. In fact, it is way overdue.”

Currently, the museum is landscaping a “First Ladies’ Garden” featuring favorite flowers of the country’s 44 first ladies. Hillary’s favorite? Hydrangea. Daffodils are a close second.

When Hillary lived in the house, Johnson said, she planted daffodils along the front lawn’s retainer wall that still bloom each spring.

“Tourists can still see them if they come in March.”

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Sarah Palin’s Parental Role Models: Bill and Hillary Clinton

leave a comment »

Summer weddings are all the rage among the most politically fascinating — and polar opposite — families. The Clintons and the Palins.

Rumors concerning every detail — the wedding dress, the guest list, the ceremony — swirl around the July 31 wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky at the extravagant Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, N.Y., above the Hudson River. It promises to be a glamorous A-list affair. Mother of the bride and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said repeatedly, whenever given the chance, that Chelsea’s wedding is the most important thing in her life.

Sarah Palin, well, is a different story. It’s rumored that Sarah may not be attending daughter Bristol’s August wedding to her off-again, on-again baby’s daddy Levi Johnston. Gasp! No, no, no. Even Miss Manners has a word to say about this.

While Judith Martin, aka “Miss Manners,” declines to discuss individuals “because it would be rude,” she does have a few thoughts about parents who boycott their children’s wedding, she told Politics Daily’s Annie Groer.

“It is a very serious statement that people sometimes live to regret,” said Martin, the author of “Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding” written with daughter Jacobina Martin. “The regret stems from the fact that it makes the children very angry because it’s a very public form of disapproval. It’s one thing sitting around moaning that your daughter could have done better, but another to make clear to everyone in your entire circle that you think so.”

It’s not entirely shocking if the boycott rumor becomes truth. In the past, Sarah has been less than kind to Levi, who burnished his black sheep credentials when he posed nude for “Playgirl.” He further frosted the family air by stating that Sarah called her son, Trig, who has Down’s syndrome, retarded.

Palin retorted, “Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies. Those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention.”

Just last week, in a statement to “Good Morning America,” Sarah gave her blessing to her daughter’s union. But it wasn’t exactly endearing. “As parents, we obviously want what is best for our children, but Bristol is ultimately in charge of determining what is best for her and her beautiful son. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives. We pray that, as a couple, Bristol and Levi’s relationship matures into one that will allow Tripp to grow up graced with two loving parents in his life.”

Chelsea was once in the middle — literally — between Bill and Hillary during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But perhaps because of the love for their daughter, the high-powered political couple worked through their problems and remained married. Happy faces will abound at the wedding.

It’s been made clear that invitees to Chelsea’s wedding must personally know the couple, and they should not leak information. The private twosome tend to eschew the spotlight and have not been spotted all over Manhattan buying china and wedding favors.

Bristol and Levi live in a vastly different universe than Chelsea and Marc. They can’t seem to get enough attention. Even Bristol’s recent ex-boyfriend and Levi’s former hockey teammate, Ben Barber, has gotten into the mix, dishing dirt on his former girlfriend.

Bristol and Levi may be in negotiations for a reality show around their impending nuptials in Alaska and life with their 2-year-old son, Tripp, although a rep for Bristol Palin has denied that. Networks don’t seem interested at the moment, but stranger things have aired on television. Remember Tori Spelling?

It’s easy to imagine the reception chatter at Chelsea’s wedding. Think Washington cocktail party with a wedding cake. FOBs like Terry McAuliffe will likely toast the couple and tell everyone who will listen that the Democrats will win the midterms. There will be plenty of wistful White House story telling over expensive champagne.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Bristol and Levi’s celebration. With or without Sarah, it’s sure to be an affair for Alaskans to remember. One family member told the media that the event was Alaska’s equivalent to Princess Diana’s wedding. Maybe with some extra-added caribou in the mix. It’s not so far fetched to think that the wedding, like many celebrity nuptials these days, may be underwritten by a tabloid in exchange for the exclusive pics.

Bristol, 19, could take a lesson from Chelsea, 30.

Chelsea could have opted for a wild party-girl lifestyle in New York or Hollywood. She didn’t exactly have a picture-perfect childhood even in the White House. The media shamefully — and unfairly — joked about her teen awkwardness even as her parents tried their best to shield her from scrutiny. Her father had an impeachment scandal triggered by his liaison with Monica Lewinsky. But Chelsea stayed on track and didn’t take the predictable “fall from grace” path.

Instead, she graduated from Stanford, earned a master’s degree from Oxford, and worked at a New York consulting firm followed by a job at a hedge fund. She serves on the board of the School for American Ballet. She is studying health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

By contrast, Bristol has had a rough-go thus far in her young life. She endured an unplanned teen pregnancy and a hailstorm of sordid true-and-untrue allegations while her mother ran as Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential pick. Her husband-to-be has feuded bitterly and publicly with his future mother-in-law. Family holidays likely won’t resemble a Currier & Ives postcard.

Both women have one thing in common — fathers who care about them. Reports say that Todd Palin will escort Bristol down the aisle regardless of whether Sarah attends. There’s no question about Bill Clinton. He’ll be there, and he’s losing 15 pounds for the big event.

If Sarah doesn’t attend, the focus will be on her absence and not the couple as they try to make their way into what will surely be a married life with plenty of baggage from the start. Hopefully, the rumors aren’t true and Sarah will attend. If not, she, too, needs to take lesson from Miss Manners — and the Clintons — and be there for her daughter.

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Chelsea Clinton’s Dream Wedding (in Bill Clinton’s Little Rock?)

leave a comment »

It would be the Arkansas equivalent of a royal wedding.

That is, if Bill and Hillary Clinton hosted Chelsea’s upcoming nuptials in her home state of Arkansas rather than in New York.

Chelsea, 30, plans to marry Marc Mezvinksy, 31, this summer. Hillary says the wedding is the most important matter consuming her. Bill says he is close to losing the 15 pounds that Chelsea requested of him. Wedding plans are top-secret with only a few tips leaking out.

My Woman Up colleague Annie Groer recently reported that the nuptials will occur on July 31 at Astor Courts, a 1902 Beaux-Arts masterpiece overlooking the Hudson River.

Clinton presidential libraryBut what if Chelsea wanted to have her wedding in Little Rock?

Chelsea only spent 11 years in Arkansas and left in 1992 when the Clintons moved from the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock to the White House in Washington DC. When her mother ran for US Senate after her father’s 2nd term ended it was from New York. But Arkansas still goes giddy for the beloved political family. Little Rock – home base for Friends of Bill (aka FOBs) – would be consumed by a Chelsea wedding.

When the Clinton Presidential Center opened in 2004, a week-long series of festivities occurred including a concert by Aretha Franklin. A Chelsea wedding would surely see “Chelsea and Marc” tea cups in the Clinton Museum Store, a stone’s throw from the presidential library, a gigantic banner congratulating the couple hanging on the side of the Clinton library and bars featuring Chelsea drink specials. A Chelsea Julep, anyone?

Arkansas is no stranger to extravagant, over-the-top weddings.

The state-wide daily newspaper dedicates a two-page spread every Sunday featuring the most opulent and expensive weddings. Little Rock, a city with a surprising amount of wealth, has two glossy society magazines that showcase glitzy parties and high-profile charity events.

Chelsea’s beau is Jewish, making a church wedding unlikely. But Hillary’s former church, First United Methodist, a Gothic church with deep historical roots, would make a beautiful setting at sunset with its stunning stained glass windows facing west.

When the Clintons lived in Little Rock, Bill attended Immanuel Baptist Church, which at the time was located in the heart of downtown. Today, the church, an enormous brick fortress that people jokingly call “Six Flags Over Jesus,” sits on a hill next door to a Kroger in suburban Little Rock. Certainly, not a picturesque site.

Fortunately for the former First Family of Arkansas, they have access to the perfect interfaith nuptial spot: The Clinton Presidential Library. The archive of his 8 years in the nation’s White House has sleek, modern architecture designed by James Polshek overlooking the Arkansas River. The Secret Service knows how to secure the library, which sits on a 16-acre city park. Its Great Hall that seats 300 people offers a striking view of the city’s skyline.

The library complex also houses Bill’s rooftop penthouse suite. Filled with original art from around the world, the penthouse features a landscaped outdoor terrace – the ultimate site for a late evening rehearsal dinner with fireworks exploding over the river in celebration of the couple.

To escape the hullabaloo of downtown, Chelsea could have the ceremony or a pre-wedding luncheon at a palatial home owned by one of the original FOBs.

Longtime FOB Kaki Hockersmith, who designed the White House living quarters for Bill and Hillary and worked on the interiors of Camp David and the Clinton Library, owns an Italian villa-style home on ritzy Edgehill.

Hockersmith and her husband, Max Mehlburger, have hosted many fundraisers for Bill, Hillary and other high-status national Democrats. Hockersmith was recently appointed to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for The Kennedy Center.

Another likely locale is the multi-million dollar home Mike and Beth Coulson, wealthy Democratic donors. Mike Coulson is CEO of Coulson Oil Co. Beth Coulson, a philanthropist and former judge, was caught up in the Clinton scandals of the 1990s and is rumored to be Jane Doe #2 in the Paula Jones lawsuit against Bill Clinton.

A Southern wedding regardless of location must have plenty of flowers, food and music.

Roses and orchids are always the most popular among posh Arkansas brides but the native Purple Cone Flower adds a touch of the Natural State to arrangements.

FOB Billie Rutherford owns a popular catering business and is the go-to caterer for any Clinton function. Her husband, Skip, serves the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service and supervised the building of the presidential library.

The menu needs a mix of healthy foods – maybe cool cucumber soup shooters and sliced Arkansas pink tomatoes – and regional cholesterol-heavy cuisine such as fried catfish bites and okra. Bill would find time to sneak steak at his long-time hang-out, Doe’s Eat Place or pizza at Vino’s Brewpub, which he visited in November.

Award-winning Diamond Bear Brewery, which already boasts a Presidential IPA, would undoubtedly concoct a new beer in honor of Chelsea. Maybe a First Daughter Ale?

Plenty of solid local bands inhabit Little Rock and some of their members attended grade school with Chelsea. But if she preferred global rock and roll, Bono and The Edge from U2 would fly in to perform. They performed at the opening of the presidential library. Maybe Mick Jagger would bring in the Rolling Stones. He and Bill recently shared a box at the World Cup in South Africa.

Another music possibility: Bill could tap actor Morgan Freeman, who lives three hours from Little Rock near Clarksdale, Miss., to invite some veteran blues masters to play sax with him at the reception.
There’s only one downside to a Little Rock wedding — gossip. Little Rock is a small city that thrives on media attention. But if Clintonites sent the signal for lips to be sealed, any wedding scoop would be locked down tighter than a presidential visit to Iraq.

Hopefully, for Little Rock, Chelsea hasn’t sealed the deal on New York. If the bride-to-be wants to feel extra special on her wedding day, it’s the city where she was born that would wrap their arms around her.

Bill, Hillary and Chelsea: An Only Child’s Wedding Day

leave a comment »

I’ve seen Chelsea Clinton twice outside of the political arena.

One afternoon, when she was no older than 10, my mom and I spotted her and Hillary at a downtown mall in Little Rock. Chelsea wanted to buy something, but Hillary said no, repeatedly and sternly. It was a telling moment between a mother and a little girl. Perhaps, Hillary was trying to teach Chelsea a lesson on saving money. Or that even kids who happen to be only children don’t always get everything they want.

A few weeks later, I happened upon Chelsea and Bill shopping in a department store. Bill was trying on suits, and Chelsea was supervising. She was picking out ties and running the show.

This summer, Bill and Hillary’s only child plans to marry investment banker Marc Mezvinsky. He is the son of former Iowa congressman Edward Mezvinsky, who was sentenced to prison for a numerous counts of fraud in 2001, and former NBC reporter and congresswoman Marjorie Margolies.

Hillary told journalists in China Tuesday that the wedding is “the most important activity going on in my life right now.”

Hillary even spent time on a Chinese talk show explaining wedding showers. “It is not where you go in and have a shower, it is where friends of the bride and family come together and you give gifts to the bride and you tell stories and you show pictures of when she was a little girl.”

It’s funny that the most powerful woman in the world is sitting around chatting about bridal showers. Could the wedding really be the center of Hillary’s universe? After all, as secretary of state, she juggles a hectic schedule of world leaders, treaties and travel.

The answer: Yes. I’m an only child and the special dynamics between an only kid and parents are unique. No doubt, Bill, as father of the bride, is equally as excited, nervous and focused as Hillary. To this troika, the wedding is pressing a family matter as Afghanistan or Iraq is to foreign affairs.

Friends of Bill in Little Rock agree. When Chelsea is mentioned, they never fail to tell various stories about how Bill and Hillary always attended her church programs and dance recitals when she was little.

Now, they whisper that Bill is just as giddy about the wedding as Hillary.

In April on NBC’s “Today” show he said, “Chelsea has been good enough to include me in the decisions…so I love that.”

And they say he’s likely to be an emotional wreck that day. In interviews, he has said he will feel, “Proud, grateful, wistful. I’ll be thinking about the day she was born. I’ll be thinking about the first day of school.”

He’s also trying to do what his daughter wanted: Lose 15 pounds before the big day. Then again he’s always trying to lose weight.

There’s not a lot known about the wedding even among FOBs. They won’t say whether they’ve received an invitation. They just smile. It’s rare for FOBs not to spill some scoop but they are highly sensitive to Bill and Hillary’s lifelong desire for their child’s privacy.

Some wedding rumors have leaked over the last few months. Chelsea’s dress could be designed by Hillary fave Oscar De La Renta. Or maybe Chelsea has her own designer toiling away on a custom design, which Hillary did not have when she married Bill in 1975. She bought off-the-rack Jessica McClintock at Dillard’s.

The location is in the New York countryside likely not far from Chappaqua. The ceremony is complicated. Hillary is Methodist. Bill is Southern Baptist. The groom is Jewish. Like many interfaith couples, it will likely be a modern meshing of nuptials and religion.

For Bill and Hillary, it’s a nerve-wracking and emotional time. Weddings can be as complicated as Middle East peace talks whether or not they include powerful families. There are menus to debate, dresses to fit, champagne to ponder, and flowers to study.

It’s far more complex for the Clintons. They not only have to deal with a nervous bride but complex security plans and a global guest list that includes friends of the parents but not necessarily Chelsea’s.

Knowing how only children maneuver — i.e. get their own way — it’ll be no surprise that Chelsea’s wedding day goes off exactly as she dreams. And if Bill can’t lose those 15 pounds before the big day? He’ll have his suit fitted to look as if he did to keep his little girl happy.

Written by suziparker1313

March 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm