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The Loves of Hillary ClintonBy Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 30, 1995; Page D03
The Washington Post
Fabio has a fan club. "Melrose Place" has a fan club.
But who knew Hillary had a fan club?
O ye of little faith. Ask the 11,000 members who wear the red and white "Hillary Rodham Clinton Fan Club" buttons. Ask the 41 chapter coordinators and their families at the White House yesterday afternoon.
Ask Ruth Love, 71, who founded the club three years ago with her husband, Eugene, 81. The Loves like Mrs. Clinton so much that they got teary when the first lady invited them to the podium in the East Room.
"Here we are today," said Ruth. "Men, women, children, Democrats, Republicans, independents for one overriding purpose: to tell you that we support you in your efforts to change America for the better. We admire you. We respect you. We love you."
Even Rush Limbaugh would have a hard time making fun of this fan club. The Loves, a retired couple from Silver Spring, are so sweet that they volunteer one day a week in the White House correspondence office. So nonpartisan that they refuse to say mean things about first lady-bashers ("We say, You're entitled to your idea, and we're entitled to ours,' " says Eugene). And so nice that they declined to make fun of even one of Mrs. Clinton's many hairdos.
The first lady, sporting a sassy little flip and an emerald green suit, was appropriately grateful.
"You cannot imagine what it feels like to land at an airport or walk in an event and see some of you standing there," she told the audience. "It is such a great boost to know that there are people who share your feelings, your values, your love of country."
Then the Loves lovingly presented Mrs. Clinton with a homemade, gingham-covered photo album with a page from each of the 75 chapters across the country. "This fan club is not a fan club as defined in the '50s and '60s," said Ruth. "Before you are no teenage screamers or swooners."
Teenage? Hardly. No, this fan club is . . . well, the cute-little-old-lady quotient was really, really high.
The Loves -- she's a retired teacher and he was a Department of Labor finance officer -- were lifelong Democrats when they founded the club in September 1992. They liked what they read about Mrs. Clinton's work with children in Arkansas and thought this would be a nice gesture to help the Clintons win the White House. Now there are 72 chapters in the United States and three abroad, in England, Denmark and Japan.
For a lifetime membership fee of $5, fan club members get a button and a newsletter that the Loves put together out of the "Hillary" room in their home. The newsletter highlights the chapters' local projects (community projects and other first lady-type works) and a recipe for Mrs. Clinton's chocolate chip cookies, which are served at every meeting. "They're very good," says Ruth.
"I'm no political activist," says Elizabeth Roy, a chapter coordinator from South Berwick, Maine. "I vote -- that's about it. But I heard so much Hillary-bashing. And I think she's definitely worthy of our respect."
"I cannot tell you how grateful I am for many of you sticking your necks out and being willing to speak out," Mrs. Clinton told her guests. "Not for me, but for what you believe in your heart is right."
Even Janice Schafir caught Hillary fever. Schafir, a Republican from Fremont, Calif. ("I think I'm going to vote for Colin Powell"), traveled to Washington with her sister-in-law, chapter coordinator Nancy Little, and got past her superficial impression of Mrs. Clinton. "I never looked at her closely," said Schafir. Chalk one more up for the first lady.
Can a Hillary Clinton 1996 calendar be far behind?
© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company