05/25/2011 07:08 pm ET Updated Jul 25, 2011

Obama's Gone, But The Big Dog's Here

WASHINGTON -- Former President Bill Clinton spoke this afternoon at a moving memorial service for industrialist and Newsweek co-owner Sidney Harman, who died last month at the age of 92.

Clinton spoke only briefly on the stage at the (appropriately named) Harman Center for the Performing Arts. But participating in the event -- and seeing an audience full of old friends in politics -- evidently got Bubba's old campaign juices flowing.

Leaving the center, the president first bumped into Chris Matthews on F Street, the old (and now revived) downtown D.C. business corridor. A 10 minute schmoozefest ensued.

Then Clinton spied the long line of valet parking attendants, and decided to shake hands with each, ask their names, etc.

Now geeked up on handshaking, Clinton informed his Secret Service agents -- much to their chagrin -- that he "wanted to take a walk." It was a nice sunny and not too humid day in the District.

Clinton promptly set off west on F, headed in the general direction of... the White House. By this time, it was about 5 p.m. Offices were letting out, and day-shoppers finishing their voyages.

According to one source who talked to the Secret Service, Clinton shook more than 1,000 hands on the way to the vicinity of the White House plaza on Pennsylvania Ave.

President Barack Obama of course is in Europe. Clinton resisted the temptation to go to the Northwest Gate and say, "do you know who I am?"

Then Clinton was hustled into his car, and he was off...