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Behind the scenes of Hillary Clinton’s surprise Chicago visit

ChelseClint(right) pictured with mom Hillary Clinton.  |  Getty Images

Chelsea Clinton (right), pictured with mom Hillary Clinton. | Getty Images

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Updated: June 8, 2013 6:34AM



The Hillary file . . .

She sat in a corner.

◆ Translation: Hillary Clinton, one of the world’s most powerful women, chose to sit in a quiet, corner table with her Park Ridge school buddies Saturday night — rather than at a head table with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who was receiving the prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize at the Hilton Hotel.

Instead, Hillary, a hush-hush surprise guest, chatted with her old Park Ridge chums Betsy Ebeling, Ernie Ricketts and Kevin O’Keefe to catch up on their lives and new grandchildren.

“Her eyes were clear, her color was good. She looked wonderful,” said Hillary’s best friend, Betsy Ebeling, alluding to Hillary’s illness during the last days of her stint as the much-traveled secretary of State. “And what’s so amazing, after all those speeches Bill Clinton has given, Hillary kept saying how totally amazing his speech was. They really love each other. It is so refreshing, even after all these years, to see it.”

It’s no secret that Hillary, who is this/close to daughter Chelsea, looks forward to grandchildren. “She has practically adopted all her staff’s children and grandchildren,” said Ebeling, who noted Hillary has a very tender, loving side those who aren’t close to her rarely see.

“Most of the room had no idea she was there, let alone saw her, when she was introduced by her husband,” said a Sneed source. “Neither Clinton stayed for dinner. President Clinton ordered a vegetarian appetizer, but they both made a slow exit from the room after Clinton’s speech to head back home. They had just come from Little Rock, Ark., where an airport had been named after them.”

Prepare for more Clinton time in Chicago.

All three Clintons, Bill, Hill and Chelsea, will be coming to town for the Clinton Global Initiative June 14 and 15; Hillary will be headlining the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy dinner for buddy David Axelrod June 13, and Chelsea hits town Thursday for a major fund-raiser.

The Gacy file . . .

It’s creepy! Attorney Terry Sullivan, who prosecuted serial killer John Wayne Gacy — and whose 30-year-old book “Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders” has just been updated with the latest DNA findings and re-issued — helped solve the mystery of a never before released photo of Gacy given to Sneed.

◆ The face of evil: In the pic, Gacy is wearing the uniform of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, an international organization dedicated to supporting Kentucky charities and educational organizations.

◆ The irony: The pic was taken of Gacy partying in the yard of the apartment complex where he once lived with his ex-wife and where his mother lived — while he was still actively killing people.

The horse race . . .

Sign of the times? While Attorney General Lisa Madigan was ramping up her fund-raising for a gubernatorial bid, a horse named “Lisa’s Mad Again” took first place in a race at Arlington Park’s opening day celebrations on Saturday.

◆ The upshot: Asked if it was an omen for the 2014 election, Cook County Clerk (and fellow race-watcher) David Orr told Sneed, “Well, I didn’t see any horse named Pat Quinn.” (Also spotted at the Arlington celebrations: Radio host Roe Conn, PR master Thom Serafin and military aficionado Bill Coulson.

Press briefings . . .

Congrats! Chicago journalist/author James O’Shea, co-founder of Chicago News Cooperative, former editor in chief of the Los Angeles Times and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, has been selected as the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Sneedlings. . .

I spy . . . Former Gov. Jim Edgar and state Sen. Kirk Dillard dining at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Lombard on Sunday night — and ostensibly chatting about Dillard’s gubernatorial bid with their entourage. . . . Congrats to Cook County’s Homeland Security chief Michael Masters on his engagement to legal recruiter Pamela Galler. . . . Tuesday’s birthdays: Breckin Meyer, 39; Robin Strasser, 68, and Traci Lords, 45.



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