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A Quiet Birthday For Clinton

While perhaps much on the American public's mind, President Clinton stayed mostly out of sight on his 52nd birthday Wednesday. CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports.

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry offered few details of the president's day: breakfast with his wife, Hillary and his daughter, Chelsea; a walk; birthday phone calls from relatives.

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To celebrate a birthday, Mr. Clinton and his family joined "first friend" Vernon Jordan and his wife, Ann, for a quiet gathering.

The event at Jordan's rented farm house was a three-hour affair, involving only dinner and gifts, according to McCurry. Last year, Jordan had hosted a big bash, where the president and the first lady lingered on the dance floor long after the band had packed it in.

The Clintons' two-week vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., brought the most public displays by the two men since Jordan - a Washington lawyer, Clinton confidant and golfing partner - began a series of appearances before a federal grand jury looking into Mr. Clinton's relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr was trying to determine whether Mr. Clinton sought the help of Jordan to allegedly cover up his sexual relationship with Lewinsky.

Jordan had helped Lewinsky search for a new job and a lawyer after her White House internship ended. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying he helped Lewinsky at the request of Mr. Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie. He has also said he assumed Currie was acting on the president's behalf and that he kept the Mr. Clinton apprised of his job search.

But Jordan said he had received assurances from both Lewinsky and the president that there was no sexual relationship between them.

Jordan's grand jury appearances cut deeply into the time he and Mr. Clinton spent together. Their regular golf games dwindled since the Lewinsky affair became public.

The White House played down the Clinton-Jordan vacation reunion and denied that they were using public appearances to take a poke at Starr, who has called Lewinsky back before a federal grand jury in Washington Thursday.

"He's spending his birthday evening with his friend. That's all I would read into that," McCurry said.

McCurry conceded, however, that Mr. Clinton and Jordan had only "run into each other" at various events recently and that he did not think they had had "any long conversations" in the past few months.

When asked how the president's "repair work" with his family was going since his public admission of the affar on national television, McCurry told reporters that was a "private matter."

Despite calls for his resignation from a few lawmakers, McCurry indicated that the president remained positive.

"The president is confident and enjoys the trust of the American people who elected him," McCurry said.

When asked whether Mr. Clinton had considered resigning, McCurry emphatically answered "no."

While the president's advisers are encouraging Mr. Clinton to stay out of sight for a few days, they have been asking him to consider interrupting his vacation next week to make public appearances. So far, the president has declined, sources say, at least until next week.

Reported by Bill Plante

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