Hundreds of visitors at book-signing seem to be ‘ready for Hillary’

More than a thousand people went to The Greene on June 27, 2014, to attend a book signing by potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (inset photo). Some came to show their support or to consider the possibility of Clinton’s run for the presidency, while a few came to protest the former Secretary of State’s politics.

By Riley Smith, The Flyer Staff

Presidential candidates know the importance of visiting Ohio, a state that consistently plays a large role in determining the winner. And these days, most candidates for the nation’s highest office publish a book before throwing their hat in the ring. So it’s not surprising that many who attended Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book-signing at the Greene on Friday, June 27, 2014, hoped they were meeting the next Democratic candidate for president — even though Clinton has not yet announced a decision to run in 2016.

At Books & Co., Clinton signed more than 1,000 first-edition copies of her new memoir, Hard Choices, which highlights her term as Secretary of State.

The shopping center was packed with eager guests anxious to get their copy. Books had to be pre-ordered in order to receive a ticket to the event. Police cars, news vans and ambulances lined the road. As if that wasn’t chaotic enough, it took Clinton more than an hour to sign the first 500 books, so some attendees suffered as they waited in the intense heat. Paramedics were prepared, however, and they passed out plenty of water.

Many of the people waiting in line were Clinton supporters, and some were hopeful that Clinton will run for president in 2016, even though she has not announced that she plans to. A woman named Kris Klopf expressed strong support for Clinton if she decides to run.  “I’m 100 percent for her,” said Klopf.

A group of Clinton supporters bombarded the guests waiting in line, asking if they wanted a newsletter subscription to gain information about Clinton’s prospective campaign. They also handed out stickers reading “I’m ready for Hillary.” Other supporters sold buttons and other paraphernalia in support of Clinton and a possible run for president.

Campaign supporter Emily Runyons said she feels Clinton is more than qualified to be the next president. “She’s been through a lot and she’s really experienced,” Runyons said. “We are absolutely ready: it’s time for a female president.”

She’s been through a lot and she’s really experienced. We are absolutely ready: it’s time for a female president.”

— Emily Runyons

Any imperfections Clinton might have did not seem to dissuade any of her supporters. “You know, everybody has something that’s not right about them and not perfect about them,” said Klopf. “But she has too many good qualities that make her really qualified for the presidency.”

Kristie Teel was certainly not deterred by events in Clinton’s past, including her recent health scares and the affairs of her husband, President Bill Clinton. “The [Monica] Lewinsky thing is old news and I really don’t think people care about that anymore,” Teel said. “We know everything there is to know about Clinton, so we can’t really bring up anything else.”

The guests waiting in line for Clinton’s memoir weren’t the only people present, however. Standing opposite the entrance to Books & Co. in front of The Pub were about 10 Republican protesters. They formed a wall of signs that included ones stating “No More Lies” and “Another Clinton in Office is NUTS!!” The protesters were all around 18 years old and led by Conner Gossel, a 19-year-old registered member of the Republican Party.

“We believe in lower government involvement and lower government taxes. We believe in freedom,” said Gossel. “Basically, all of that is what Hillary Clinton stands in stark contrast to. We are doing our civic duty as citizens and as Republicans to display our beliefs to the Democrats and make the best of it that we can.”

Even Gossel said he feels that Clinton could run for president in 2016. “I imagine right now she is the leading Democratic contender for the 2016 bid,” he said.

But he was quick to offer his opinion on who should run as the Republican candidate. “My personal favorites are Rand Paul and Chris Christie because they both have a very vigorous authority style,” Gossel said. “They don’t try to conform to what society’s doing or their own general assemblies or what their legislatures are doing. They realize what it takes to get the job done and to change the nation, and not just on a state-to-state basis, but how to change the world.”

A man who gave his name only as DJ and said he is an Independent said he sees a lot of pros and cons to a Clinton candidacy. “She has a lot of insider knowledge,” he said. “Then again, some people might not like that. You might lose touch with Americans and people who don’t live in Washington.”

He also pointed out that he feels Clinton’s policies don’t stand out too much from Barack Obama’s. “She needs to get in front of some issues and lead the way,” DJ said. “She needs to do something to make her stand out from the pack … in terms of what policies of hers would be different from Obama’s.”

A young man in his 20s said he feels Clinton has many advantages over other possible candidates. “Her stint as a Secretary of State is a definite plus, considering that foreign policy is always a critical issue for every election that I’ve been around for,” he said. “She’s got the experience, she’s met with world leaders, she knows how foreign governments work, and she works with dignitaries; these are all huge pluses.”

A senior citizen in the crowd said Clinton should be elected president. “It’s time to get these old cronies out and put someone in who actually knows something,” he said.

It was no surprise that security was off the wall at the book-signing event. Not only did Clinton have her own set of Secret Service agents, but also in attendance were members of a bomb squad and bomb-sniffing dogs. Entering Books & Co. felt like walking through the TSA area of an airport. While attendees waited in line, Books & Co. workers constantly yelled into megaphones, telling people to have their tickets ready and to line up in numerical order to make things move along more quickly.

All politics aside, those waiting in line were eager to get their hands on Clinton’s book and have a few seconds with someone who could be the first female president of the United States. Klopf was one of many people present who are fully supportive of Clinton and ready to help her run in 2016.

But whatever happens in the future, Klopf was also thankful to have the opportunity to be in the present with Hillary Clinton. “How often do you get to meet a First Lady?” Klopf said.