DAVOS, Switzerland — Two thousand of the world's most influential people applauded Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday evening as she told them they must do more to share wealth and power with "the billions of men, women and children who are effectively without a voice."
The first lady's vigorous 15-minute speech to the World Economic Forum was delivered without notes.
It was judged by many here as eloquent evidence that the Clinton administration remains in charge in Washington and fully engaged in international affairs.
"Hats off to her. She's the best ambassador the United States could have," said Sheila Mathrani, correspondent for an Indian business newspaper, the Economic Times. "What a woman."
"The charges against her husband are disgusting," added French Ambassador-at-Large Jean-Daniel Tordjmann.
President Clinton has been under fire since allegations surfaced recently that he had a sexual relationship with a former White House intern, Monica S. Lewinsky. Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr has launched an investigation of the charges.
The economic forum is an annual event that attracts leading figures from government, business, the media, academia and other fields from around the globe to this ski resort nestled high in the Alps of eastern Switzerland.