Hillary Clinton told Variety that Oceana’s fete at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel was a “very important event,” but as much as she tried to keep the focus on the org’s work in protecting the ocean ecosystem, few others couldn’t help but allude to the prospect that she would run for president.
Speakers at the Oct. 30 event mentioned the prospect of another Clinton in the White House, even if Clinton has said herself that it will be more than a year until she decides. That didn’t stop several people from stopping by her and urging her to run, not the least of which was Harvey Weinstein. Seated next to her at dinner, he introduced the former Secretary of State by praising her work on a host of issues before finishing, “Please run for president.”
“Well, I thought this was about the oceans,” Clinton quipped as she took the stage.
She pointed to the org’s efforts to address ocean garbage dumping, curbing overfishing and gill netting, among other issues, as well as climate change.
“The good news is that if we sensibly manage the oceans we can more than meet the demand for food,” she said, noting how some American fisheries have come back with legislation her husband signed to protect ocean areas.
She singled out a number of figures in the org, including Ted Danson, one of the founders of the American Oceans Campaign, which eventually became Oceana, and his wife Mary Steenburgen. Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless talked of legislation pending in Congress to prevent mislabeling of fish products.
HBO and Richard Plepler were also honored for their commitment to environmental programming, which includes two “Gasland” movies and the upcoming “Saving My Tomorrow: Kids on Climate. “We are determined to play our small role to make sure these issues are front and center,” he said, humbly.
He, too, evoked some nostalgia for the days of the Clinton White House, recalling a trip and tour of the White House in 1993 he organized with a group of celebrities to premiere the HBO environmental doc “Earth and the American Dream.” Passing the Oval Office, he saw the door ajar and “I boldly pushed the door of the Oval open saying to myself, ‘Why not?’” The president, pouring over briefing books, at first looked a bit incongruous, but then spotted Billy Crystal, Sam Waterston and Christopher Reeve and said, “Come on in,” Plepler recalled, imitating Clinton’s southern voice.
They spent “at least an hour and a half” chatting with Clinton, before they politely said that he must be busy and they should go.
“If we had not done that, I guarantee you we would still be there,” Plepler quipped.
“One day soon we will return to debut another movie at the White House, and if we’re lucky there will be another President Clinton at the White House,” Plepler said. “And next time I will knock first.”
Clinton’s schedule, more than anything else, is what has fueled speculation that she is more than likely to run. She spent the afternoon at the home of longtime supporter Haim Saban, at a fundraiser for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Among the 80-or-so present were Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant, Weinstein and Casey and Laura Wasserman. Next week, she returns to Los Angeles for more events, including another benefit (also at the Beverly Wilshire) for the International Medical Corps.
Asked by Variety why she didn’t just rest from a busy schedule of public events, a fade from view that many expected, Clinton said, “By my standards, I am.”