Clinton ‘Takes a Village’ by storm: Hillary signs book, greets admirers during La Jolla visit
By Pat Sherman
Former U.S. Secretary of State and (as many either hope or dread) prospective 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was in La Jolla Wednesday morning (June 25) to sign copies of her new memoir, “Hard Choices.”
A line of 1,100 people who gained admittance by pre-ordering Clinton’s book snaked down Girard Avenue, spilling onto Prospect Street.
Clinton first visited the store in 2003, to sign copies of her book, “Living History.” She was also in town Wednesday to speak at the BIO International Convention in downtown San Diego.
While waiting to enter Warwick’s, Brent and LJ Livingston of Chula Vista bought their daughters two of the six-dozen Hillary Clinton cookies Girard Gourmet baked for the event.
LJ Livingston said she explained to her daughters that many other nations have already had women in charge of their government.
“They asked me, ‘How come there’s not a woman president?’ ” LJ Livingston said. “I said, ‘They haven’t been ready yet … but it’s coming.’ … I feel this will be the one woman who might be able to do it — her or (U.S. Sen.) Elizabeth Warren.”
People began arriving as early as 3:30 a.m. for the event.
La Jollan Lena Gerwick said she attended because she is concerned about the direction the country is headed.
“And I guess thought it would be interesting to meet her just once in my life,” Gerwick added. “I think she is very accomplished and has probably more knowledge than most of the other ones that are going to try to run.”
Appearing just shortly after her scheduled 8:30 a.m. start time, Clinton emerged from the rear of the store with gusto.
“It’s great to be back,” she said. “Let’s sign some books!”
The consummate elder statesperson, Clinton was poised and polished, conveying in equal measure interest and empathy.
“I’m delighted to see you,” “I hope you have a good summer,” she told those in line, many of whom addressed her as “Madame Secretary.” Clinton accepted congratulations on her daughter Chelsea’s recent pregnancy and Oxford doctorate, and complimented a visually-impaired guest on his “beautiful” guide dog.
The 66-year-old former first lady and U.S. Senator demonstrated cheery, albeit slightly restrained enthusiasm when speaking with “Ready for Hillary” volunteers, who donned their desire for her to seek the presidency a second time in the form of buttons, stickers, shirts and hats.
“Thank you for volunteering,” she told them. “Keep that energy level up!”
Clinton took time to answer a few serious questions, including one from a young man born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, who was returning there this week and wanted to know how Clinton felt about the renewed violence and tensions in his country.
Noting Sri Lanka’s 30-year-civil war (which ended in 2009), she told the man, “When I was secretary I tried very hard to persuade the government to try to heal the wounds of that terrible war, and I hope that still is their goal. … I think the world was pleased when it finally ended, but you can’t just end a war and not do more to try to make people feel included.”
Clinton sent the smiling young man on his way with a signed book and her hopes for a “safe and constructive trip.”
Emerging from the store with tears in her eyes, 23-year-old Sara Miller said she was moved by words of encouragement from her role model.
“She was interested in what I wanted to do in the future,” said the UTC resident, who graduated last December from the University of Nevada, Reno with a major in international affairs. “She asked me what languages I speak, and said I should think about the foreign service, and how she could really see how people like me could be beneficial to the country.”
Nine-year-old Northern California resident Emily Hatch, who attended with her grandparents, Mel and Randi Hatch (of Olivenhain), said she thought it was “neat” to meet Clinton.
“I’ll look back and say, ‘I met the president,’ ” she mused. “It was worth waiting in the really, really, long line.”
Christopher Moffatt, a graduate student in the School of International Relations at UC San Diego and a registered Democrat, said he didn’t vote for Clinton when she ran in 2008, though attended because he is “very much a fan of her work as secretary of state under President Obama.
“It’s a little bit early for me to say whether I would support her or not,” Moffatt said.
La Jollan Christopher Canole said he believes Clinton will “unequivocally” be the next president, though Mission Hills resident James Borack, who attended with him, wasn’t as assured.
“I’m a statistician,” he said. “If the election were held now, do I think she would win? Easily. But too much can happen in more than two years. … I think it’s more likely this time, but it’s by no means a certainty.”
Maria Gonzalez and Jeff Thompson voted for Clinton in 2008. They weren’t able to get inside the store (they met Clinton at Warwick’s in 2003), though nevertheless came to show their support.
“Can you imagine a woman president? How amazing,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody we talk to we try to convince.”
Clinton departed Warwick’s shortly after an 11 a.m. tour of the store, during which she purchased the staff-recommended thriller, “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes.
Although there were several protesters outside the convention center later that day, only one woman appeared in the designated free speech area across from Warwick’s, clutching a sign denouncing Clinton for her support of same-sex marriage and for security lapses related to the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Warwick’s largest turnout for an author event was with rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who owner Nancy Warwick said drew 2,400 people.
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