October 2, 2013  •  Gertie & Mary  •  Articles - Jennifer - Politics

There wasn’t an empty seat at Manhattan’s Cipriani restaurant for the first-ever Save the Children benefit on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton attended, as accolades were awarded to Jennifer Garner, the Bezos Family Foundation, Save the Children coordinator Virginia Almeida, and Manny Chirico, C.E.O. of PVH, Calvin Klein’s parent company, and a longtime supporter of the organization.

Mrs. Clinton was undoubtedly a draw—even the celebrity guests were eagerly anticipating meeting the former Secretary of State—and she spoke passionately for nearly 15 minutes about early childhood development. One of Mrs. Clinton’s representatives was seated at our table, and once the evening’s program began, Huma Abedin slipped into the seat beside her. She smiled and waved a vague hello to everyone at the table but did not introduce herself, as the speeches were now in progress. After Hillary Clinton finished speaking, both women left the table and did not return.

Then, Garner wowed the audience with a delightful speech about her work with the organization, which we share snippets from below:

“I told my daughter Violet that I was a little nervous to speak in front of a crowd like this, and she gave me a great piece of advice, which was: to imagine that you are all our dogs, Martha Stewart and Gandhi, and to imagine you’re all wagging your tails, waiting for a treat, and the treat is my speech! It’s really working, Violet, thank you.

“I asked Mark [Shriver] very nicely not to give me this award for another 10 years, and clearly you can see who is the boss in this relationship. And the reason I asked for this furlough is that I believe that 10 years from now we’ll really have something to celebrate. Our nation is on the cusp of recognizing that if the future is our children, then we have to give them our love, attention, and resources starting day one. President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan are aggressively pushing to increase early-education funding, and our next president, Hillary Clinton, has made early education one of the three pillars of her work. She’s been a longtime champion of early education, and we’re so thrilled that she is here, so graciously continuing the fight today.”

We’d like to note that Garner is not the first celebrity to offer Clinton a semi-endorsement for president. Karlie Kloss did the same this past weekend via—where else?—Instagram. Garner went on to thank her family for their support, detailing their struggles while making a life in America.

“I’m here tonight to accept this award on behalf of my parents, who are here. My mother, who’s mother, Violet, crossed the country in a covered wagon, married at 14, raised her nine kids in a one-room house in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, in the height of the dust-bowl Depression. My father, who along with his brother and sisters, was raised by a widowed mother on a string and a prayer in Baytown, Texas. They both credit their success to their educations. They were the only ones in their families to graduate from college, and they credit their ability to get that education, and be successful in getting that education, to the thoughtful intervention of people outside their families. Neighbors who lent them books, teachers who believed in and pushed them, boy-scout leaders, and the members of the United Methodist Church.”

Garner then capped off her speech by explaining why she’d decided to bring her daughter, Violet, to the event.

“My husband and I have never taken our kids to a public event before, but I brought my daughter Violet, because just as I was inspired by my parents, their stories and their quiet acts of service as I grew up, I want her to see the passionate commitment Mark Shriver and Hillary Clinton have to make the world a better place for everyone. A while ago I said to my seven-year-old, Do you want to go and take a break and run around in the lobby? And she said, No, Mom. The speeches are really great. I want to hear everything.”

Source: VanityFair.com

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