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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama in surprise dance-off

US Diary

Orla Healy

Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30

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U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question during a visit to Pittsburgh June 17,  2014. During the event, Obama said that Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was being transported to the United States after his capture on Sunday.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Tensions have risen between U.S. President Barack Obamaand former aide Hillary Clinton after she sharply critiqued his foreign policy strategy and catchphrase "Don't do stupid stuff" as a 'lame doctrine for decision-making.'

Hillary Clinton's plan to "hug out" her differences with Prez Obama at a party last Wednesday night apparently didn't pan out.

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But guests attending the tented bash on Martha's Vineyard, hosted by Democratic party big-wig Vernon Jordan to celebrate his wife Ann's 70th, were treated to a spectacular dance-off between the Clintons and the Obamas, who - seated each side of the birthday girl at the head table for a surf 'n' turf dinner - appeared keen to avoid the awkwardness of having to make polite chit-chat with each other.

Tensions between the two couples escalated earlier last week, after Hillary gave an interview to The Atlantic magazine in which she sharply critiqued Obama's foreign policy strategy. Saying she believed Obama contributed to the rise of Islamic militants by failing to intervene during the early days of the uprising, Hillary also belittled Obama's catchphrase ('Don't do stupid stuff') as a lame doctrine for decision-making.

"Great nations need organising principles," she said in the interview. "And 'Don't do stupid stuff' isn't an organising principle."

Hillary's phone call to her former boss on Tuesday to apologise for her remarks reportedly went down like a lead balloon; ditto her 
cutesy announcement - issued via a lengthy statement from her camp - that she hoped to "hug it out" with him on Wednesday night.

An unidentified source close to the president was quoted as describing Obama's reaction to the criticism with a single word: "horseshit".

In a read-out from the private party (tagged "The Hug Summit" in the press) the White House declined to say whether the president and Mrs Clinton embraced. Instead, it focused on the fact that the First Couple danced to every song. A similar statement from Camp Clinton noted that the former First Couple also spent most of the night on the dance floor.

"It was huge smiles and total abandon on the dance floor," one guest told the NY Times. "You'd never know there was any discord."

The same guest reported that a "mosh pit" formed around Mr Obama and Mr Clinton, who contentiously squared off during the 2008 Democratic primary, as they took centre-stage with an exuberant twirl to the final song of the night: Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up.

Clinton foe
 cashes in

Author Edward Klein - whose latest hatchet job, Blood Feud: The Clintons Vs The Obamas is getting a bounce from the public unravelling of relations between the two couples - isn't missing any opportunity to take a shot at his subjects.

Klein, who has been ridiculed for making hay with suggestions such as Hillary is a non-practising lesbian (and, hilariously, the claim that Michelle nicknamed her husband's Secretary of State "Hildebeest") had guests at a book party held in his honour last week in stitches with his quip that if Hillary wins the 2016 presidential race, "the Clintons won't need to redecorate the White House, they can just return the furniture they took with them last time" - an on-the-money reference to the brouhaha that erupted after the Clintons left the White House in 2001 with thousands of dollars worth of furnishings that donors complained were intended for the permanent White House collection.

Klein's other quip, that "Bill Clinton would die to get back into the White House, which might literally happen on the campaign trail for Hillary in '16, given how awful he looks," generated less laughter from the GOP crowd, who had gathered to celebrate the news that Blood Feud had successfully toppled Hillary's tome Hard Choices, off the top of the "non-fiction" NY Times bestseller list.

Gleeful times 
for Gwyneth

Happy days for Gwyneth Paltrow who, after pulling off the world's most amicable separation, is said to be dating one of Hollywood's more interesting catches, Glee co-producer Brad Falchuk.

The two, who developed a friendship after she started appearing on the musical drama in 2010, have been spotted dining together around LA (over Goop-approved fare such as clams, baby octopus with crispy Brussels sprouts). The pair also spent the last week of July together on a low-key romantic trip to Utah.

Paltrow's ex, Chris Martin, who is spending the summer in a rental across the street from the East Hampton home he used to share with his wife, reportedly expressed his approval of Gwyneth's new relationship by pitching in to mind their daughter Apple and son Moses for the duration. Falchuk (43) who divorced his wife of 10 years Suzanne in March 2013, also shares custody of his daughter and son.

Gone Girl is
 gone crazy

Director David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network) seems to be going out of his way to wind up Gone Girl fans in advance of its highly anticipated big-screen US premiere next month.

In January, Fincher upset devotees of Gillian Flynn's best-selling thriller when he remarked that the author - who he commissioned to write the screenplay - had ditched the book's original ending and was rethinking the plot twists "from scratch". Flynn managed to calm the subsequent cyber-storm by saying Fincher's comments "have been greatly exaggerated".

Maybe he missed that memo. In an interview with the upcoming edition of Entertainment Weekly, Fincher responds to the question about what changes have been made in bringing the novel from page to screen with an opaque: "Everything and nothing."

Asked to elaborate, Fincher goes off on a confounding tangent. "You're not changing the marrow of the creature," he says.

"You're just changing the bone structure and the muscles and the skin." Pause. "And the hair." He laughs.

"It's all of its outer sheathing. But at its core, it's exactly what I think Gillian always intended." Glad he cleared that up.

Sunday Independent

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