With powder pink roses, a constellation of twinkling lights and an all-American chef, Hillary Rodham Clinton is launching her summer social season.
This tough, policy-oriented first lady is out to prove she can do it all."I want to have fun," she says. "That's my bottom line."
She speaks of breaking social stereotypes and expanding cultural horizons at the White House.
"I want people to meet people they wouldn't otherwise meet. And I want them to have conversations they wouldn't otherwise have," she says.
Monday, the Clintons will host their first state dinner, with a guest list topped by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan.
Also on the summer social agenda are barbecues and picnics on the lawn, fireworks-watching from inside the White House fence, and a Chesapeake Bay crab feast for Congress, featuring tables covered with brown paper and mallets for cracking the shells.
Hillary Clinton showed her style at a black-tie banquet Friday that was essentially a dress rehearsal the upcoming imperial state dinner. As dancing dinner guests swirled around her in the State Dining Room, the first lady explained what she has in mind.
"I want entertaining here to be in keeping with the traditions and the status of the house," she said. "But I also want a modern style, warm and reaching out to people. I want to showcase the best surroundings and wonderful food, with established stars of entertainment and rising stars as well."
Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who is retiring as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, will perform for the Japanese imperial couple.