DON'T WORRY, BE HOPPY

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By Henry Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 5, 1994; 6:38 AM

Hillary Rodham Clinton comes out to the Easter Egg Roll in a blue dress and hair so short it looks as if she's been swimming. But the dress and the hair don't have anything to do with the look she has, that Hillary look, as she stands on the speakers' platform doing her trademark Windex-wiping wave.

Standing in the crowd with the million children and three or four people in Easter Bunny costumes -- shouldn't they have just one Easter Bunny the way they'd have one Santa Claus? -- you look at her look, and you wonder why it seems wildly appropriate.

There's a noise from the loudspeakers as if the crowd is endlessly inhaling. Even the Easter Bunnies watch, with oddly immobile eyes and grins.

And then she introduces her husband: "President Clinton." (Interesting: Did Barbara ever introduce George? Nancy Ron? Rosalynn Jimmy?)

"I got up before dawn today," the president says with a husky amazement that threatens to escalate into a fit of happy head-shaking and doggone-ing. "I looked down from the window, and saw these Easter Bunnies walking around out here plotting their strategies."

Strategies? A strange vision -- giant rabbits walking around in the half-light on a lawn so thick that it turns light and dark like velvet, with trees so thick with blossoms they seem carved out of a single block of pink. Plotting strategies.

Hillary Clinton takes the microphone and recites the history of egg rolling, how it began on the Capitol lawn with Dolley Madison, then moved to the White House.

"This is what kids did in 1810 or '11," she says with her electric smile nudging those cheekbones. That look: those big teeth, that adamant stare, her ears sticking out -- is it just possible that Hillary Clinton actually looks just a little bit like the Easter Bunny?

And what could be nicer for Egg Roll day, except that she leaves after six minutes, and the president isn't far behind, after a little psychic battery-charging out in the crowd. It should be noted that he has no rabbitical look about him whatsoever, and in the interest of gender parity, let us reveal that he wears a near-black suit with no vent in back, vaguely Italian, vaguely bi-coastal. Wherever he goes, he always looks as if he bought his clothes someplace else.

They have to leave. There are first balls to be thrown out at ballgames, stock markets to reassure, damage to control, spin to be spun. They leave the South Lawn in charge of tens of thousands of children and their guardians.

What a day not to be someplace else! What a day to be an Easter Bunny! This hard spring sunshine you get when the trees haven't leafed out yet, and everything looks a little too real!

Down the lawn there are Easter egg hunts. Eggs are hidden in straw, eggs are found in straw. This makes sense. Hunting and gathering and all that. What makes no sense whatsoever is the egg rolling.


CONTINUED     1           >

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