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Jewish World Review August 18, 2000 / 17 Menachem-Av, 5760

Roger Simon

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Hollywood to Bubba: 'You are a mirror for all of us' -- LOS ANGELES | In his nearly eight years in office, Bill Clinton has visited California many more times than Ronald Reagan did as president, and Reagan considered the place his home.

To Clinton, California in general and Hollywood in specific is the home he always wanted: glamorous, glitzy and fun.

He was a movie buff as a kid, and he has admitted to a kind of unabashed joy in meeting movie and entertainment stars.

And the stars like him.

So it was only natural that they should sing his praises when he came here for the Democratic Convention and attended the "Hollywood Tribute to William Jefferson Clinton."

About 1,400 people, each paying $1,000 -- I'll do the math for you: that's $1.4 million -- sat in green and beige directors chairs on the lawn of the Brentwood estate of mogul Ken Roberts. There was a live orchestra, and a stage and huge TV screen set up.

Clinton, Hillary and Chelsea sat in the audience, surrounded by the stars, which ranged from Milton Berle to Brad Pitt and his new bride Jennifer Anniston.

Pop culture icon Stan Lee, who invented Spider-Man, began the tribute to Clinton by saying: "I'm a guy who's dealt with super heroes most of my life, and you, sir, have great potential. I think if you would learn to climb the side of buildings and wear spandex tights, I think I could make you famous."

Over the next two hours, this followed:

Shirley MacLaine: "You are a mirror for all of us."

Jimmy Smits: "Mr. President, good evening." Then to Hillary: "Senator. I wasn't supposed to say that, huh?"

Red Buttons: "Bush picked oil, and Gore picked seltzer."

Melissa Etheridge: "You and I will forever be linked historically, because it was after your first inauguration that I decided to come out publicly. I just want to say thank you so very much for inviting us into the house and to the table, and we'll never, ever have to go back into the closet again." She then sang a song with words that went "Come to my window, I'll be home soon," and Clinton could be seen wiping away tears.

Actress Alfre Woodard: "May you take your new freedom of movement and speech to cry foul, save lives and to get the barbecue sauce all over your face. And to dance."

Cher: "I have a confession to make. Sir, I didn't vote for you. But if you were running again, which I wish you were, I would vote for you."

John Travolta: "If I were hungry, you'd sit right down and eat a cheeseburger with me, not even suggesting holding the fries. And if we were playing golf and you were better than me, you'd let me win. ... We will miss you."

Whoopi Goldberg: "You kicked a-- and even when they tried to kick yours back you stood up and you didn't falter. ... The last eight years have been a great gas. You're not going anywhere. You're going to be here."

Clinton looked very much like he agreed.

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