Five times, Hillary Rodham Clinton used the word "proud" to describe her feelings for her husband's public record. She made no allusion to his personal behavior or the embarrassing public dissection of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

"Day after day, I've seen his determination - his unrelenting determination - to do what is best for America," the first lady told party enthusiasts at a Democratic fund-raiser Thursday night.Perfectly executing what friends called her stick-to-business strategy for coping, the first lady made two public appearances on the eve of Congress' public release of Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr's massive report on President Clinton's relationship with the young White House intern.

The president and first lady, their arms linked around each other's waists, walked into the Democratic Business Council fund-raiser to a hearty and sustained ovation.

Their daughter, Chelsea, is back at Stanford University. She returned to school and a special sophomore seminar last week while her parents were overseas.

In introducing her husband, Hillary Clinton lauded the Democrats' achievements since he took office in 1993 and said none of it would have been possible without him at the helm.

A friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hillary Clinton believes the best way to survive the furor is to "ignore it, continue putting the message out on issues." Before some 300 invited guests earlier in the East Room, the first lady pressed her crusade to boost colon cancer testing, treatment and research.