By JOSH GERSTEIN
Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 26, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. For Senator Clinton, the most vivid memories of
the summer she spent here in 1971 working at a radical law firm
likely concern not politics or legal work, but romance.
That summer was the first time she lived under the same roof with her
new boyfriend and future husband, Bill Clinton. The pair, both
students at Yale Law School, had been dating for only a month or so
when Mr. Clinton proposed that he join her in California and abandon
his plans to be a Southern states coordinator for Senator McGovern's
"I screwed up my courage and asked Hillary if I could spend the
summer with her," Mr. Clinton recalled in his 2004 autobiography, "My
Life." "I told her I'd have the rest of my life for my work and my
ambition, but I loved her and I wanted to see if it could work out for us."
"I was astonished," Mrs. Clinton wrote in her 2003 memoir, "Living History."
"He had decided, he told me, that we were destined for each other,
and he didn't want to let me go just after he'd found me," she wrote.
"I was thrilled."
Mr. Clinton drove his new girlfriend to California, stopping along
the way to visit Mrs. Clinton's family in Park Ridge, Ill. He then
drove back across the country to inform Mr. McGovern's campaign about
his decision. He ultimately spent a couple of weeks organizing for
the candidate in Connecticut before driving back to Berkeley.
The new couple quickly became quite domestic. Bowing to her future
husband's Arkansas roots, Mrs. Clinton baked him a peach pie. The
pair also "produced a palatable chicken curry for any and all
occasions we hosted," Mrs. Clinton recalled.
While Mrs. Clinton clerked at the Treuhaft firm in nearby Oakland,
Mr. Clinton plowed through books, explored Berkeley shops, and
scouted out San Francisco restaurants. According to the future
senator, the pair also kindled their romance on long walks where Mr.
Clinton occasionally used his southern twang to regale her with Elvis
One night in July, the couple drove down to Stanford to listen to an
outdoor concert by Joan Baez. The Southern boy was treated to a
rendition of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," he recalled in his memoir.
Minor ambiguities in the Clintons' accounts of that summer make it
hard to pin down with certainty where in Berkeley they lived. Mr.
Clinton's book says it was a "small house," which was owned by Mrs.
Clinton's mother's half-sister, Adeline Rosenberg.
Mrs. Clinton's book says she and her then-boyfriend "shared a small
apartment near a big park not far from the University of California
at Berkeley campus where the Free Speech Movement started in 1964."
Records from the university show that Rosenberg, who died in 1998,
graduated from Berkeley in March 1971 and lived at that time in a
small, second-floor apartment on Derby Street. The apartment was
about six blocks from the main university campus and just three
blocks from People's Park, the site of a violent 1969 confrontation
between protesters and police that left one protester dead and more
than 100 wounded.
The left-wing law firm where Mrs. Clinton worked was still
representing one of the leaders of that day's protests, Daniel
Siegel, when she clerked there in 1971.
Rosenberg, a convert to Judaism and the daughter of a Jewish father,
was featured in a highly publicized story about Mrs. Clinton's Jewish
relatives that emerged in a Jewish newspaper, the Forward, during
Mrs. Clinton's first Senate bid.
Relatives say Rosenberg, who sang professionally under the stage name
Addie Ross, later recalled that she had been a bit startled to learn
a man had also taken up residence in her home.
"She had been out of town," a cousin, Alice Segal, told The New York
Sun. "Addie came back earlier than anticipated and called Hillary to
tell her she was in….Addie said, 'Is there a gentleman at your house?'
Hillary said, 'Yes, his name is Bill Clinton and I'd like you to come
and meet him.'"
Another relative, Mitchell Hoffberg, said the main thing that
impressed Rosenberg about that first encounter was Mr. Clinton's
size. "To her surprise, there was Bill laying on the living room
floor," Mr. Hoffberg said. "She was surprised he was such a big guy….
It was a small apartment and Bill was lying on the floor in front of
the couch and took up the whole room."
One of Mrs. Clinton's bosses at the firm, Malcolm Burnstein,
remembers a meeting where her boyfriend from Yale Law was bluntly
ambitious. "That was a funny conversation," Mr. Burnstein recalled.
"I just casually asked him, 'I'm sure you're getting interviews with
all the big firms in New York?' He said, 'I'm not.…I'm going back to
Arkansas and I'm going to be governor.' It's a line clearly stuck in
Mrs. Clinton later joked that Mr. Clinton's ambition had been stoked
by a comment another partner at the firm, Robert Treuhaft, made
during a meal they shared that summer. "At a long-forgotten Berkeley
dinner, you told my then-friend Bill that all great accomplishments
were achieved by the age of twenty-five (or words to that same
piercing effect)," Mrs. Clinton recalled in a note she sent to
Treuhaft from the Arkansas governor's mansion nearly a decade later.
"Since he had just hit that quarter century mark, he resigned himself
to less-than-great and a few years later, settled for the joys of public life."