Hillary trots out the celebs

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to her favorite family vacation spot Saturday to raise money for her presidential campaign at a celebrity-studded event where she took some pointed swipes at President Bush.

Clinton — accompanied by her husband and their daughter Chelsea — smiled broadly and swayed to the music as singer Carly Simon and her two children, Ben and Sally Taylor, sang “Devoted to You” for a Martha’s Vineyard crowd of more than 2,000.

Simon, along with actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, showered the Clintons with praise and predicted the senator from New York will be elected as the nation’s first woman president.

“Is it Mrs. President or Madam President?” Simon asked a smiling Clinton.

The Clintons frequently vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard during their years in the White House. The senator told the crowd that the family has been vacationing in the island for 14 years.

Bill Clinton told the crowd his wife would make the strongest president among those seeking to succeed Bush in January 2009 because she has the best plans to deal with national security, climate change, health care and education.

“If we were not married and Hillary asked me to do this, to be here tonight, I would be here,” the former president said.

In her speech, the New York senator blasted the Bush administration on everything from failure to address problems with global warming to education and the economy.

She aimed her sharpest remarks at what she described as the Bush administration’s “indifference and incompetence” in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

“It is a national disgrace,” said Clinton who is traveling to New Orleans this week to mark the second anniversary of the disaster. “What happened because of Katrina was a turning point in our country.”

Clinton also sharply criticized Bush for his handling of the Iraq war, repeating her call for the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops from the country.

“I believe that if he does not extricate us from Iraq by the time he leaves office, that when I am president I will,” she said. “I want to be a president who gets back to setting big goals for our country.”

The $50-per-ticket event was expected to raise more than $100,000 for the campaign.