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FIRST LADY ADMITS MISSING CHELSEA BUT ENJOYS TIME TO HERSELF

Hillary Rodham Clinton made a public confession Tuesday: Sure, she misses now that her daughter's off at college, but empty-nest syndrome hasn't been all bad.

"I actually miss her desperately, but it is a different experience that makes it kind of fun to have a little time to yourself," Mrs. Clinton told TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

Her appearance on "Oprah" was part of a 50th birthday blitz that began Friday. While Mrs. Clinton's actual birthday was Sunday, there was a cake on the show Tuesday.

Mrs. Clinton and Winfrey commiserated briefly about the inevitability of wrinkles and fading eyesight.

Still, Mrs. Clinton said, "a lot of women who are my friends really feel this burst of energy in their late 40s and early 50s. I've had more women come up to me kind of in a confidential way and say, 'It's really great. You're going to love being 50.' "

"Don't you think 50 today is much younger than when it was your mother turned 50?" Winfrey asked.

Mrs. Clinton agreed, but hastened to add that her own mother, who was in the front row of the studio audience, "looks really young."

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