Is it our imagination, or has Bill Clinton been a busy little bee lately — or, at least, a busy little potential First Husband? In eight recent days, he schmoozed, posed for pictures, and occasionally gave speeches at four different high-visibility charity events. The last time he’d attended a gossip-column-worthy event in town was in January, for his good friend Terry McAuliffe’s book party. This latest burst started a week ago Monday, when he came to the Food Bank for New York City’s “Can-Do Awards” at Pier 60, wandering in late from a Hillary fund-raiser at Pier 94 with Chelsea, who wore a Hillary campaign button. He introduced U2’s the Edge, who was being honored, and then he fake-admonished Jimmy Fallon, who had just sung a ditty called “Car Wash for Peace,” for withholding a plan that could have broken the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. The room exploded, and the Food Bank’s coffers hit a record high.
Then, this Monday, Clinton hit both Channel 13’s gala and then the Parsons benefit, where he introduced buddy Oscar de la Renta. Finally, on Tuesday, he attended one of the biggest society events of the season as Chelsea’s date to opening night of the New York City Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet. (He stayed for the performance but left his daughter to fend for herself at the dinner that followed.) Might this recent burst of charity appearances have anything to do with his wife’s heating-up primary race? “What he’s doing is making himself more visible to the giving crowd, to people who have a history of donating to charities and political campaigns,” says political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “Seeing him is an instant reminder that she’s running for president, and a reminder to those who’ve had some financial success of how good they had it during the Clinton years.” But Clinton’s spokesman, Jay Carson, isn’t buying it. “He goes to as many charity events as he can, sometimes three a night,” Carson says, “and he has ever since he left the White House.” —Jada Yuan