At an emotional private party just off the Senate floor, soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told her Senate colleagues Wednesday night that serving in the Senate “has been the greatest experience of my life” and that leaving them was “like leaving family.”
Clinton, whose eyes welled up as she worked the elegant LBJ room in the Capitol, hugged and kissed colleagues, posed for pictures and thanked them one by one as she reminded them she would be “just around the corner.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) nearly choked up as he spoke. “Parting is such sweet sorrow — I have such sweet memories of you,” he said. “I feel like crying.”
An emotional Clinton responded, “This is not goodbye — this is just a wave, Harry. … We’re going to be in each others’ hearts and minds.”
Clinton was feted by her daughter, Chelsea, and by some members of the Obama team — Rahm Emanuel, the incoming White House chief of staff, transition chief John Podesta and economic adviser Larry Summers, who left frequently to chat on his cell phone in the hall, a stray shirt tail hanging below his suit coat.