Hillary Clinton's book-tour launch has campaign feel
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Tuesday launched a cross-country book tour with a Manhattan stop that had the trappings of a campaign appearance as she mulls another run for president.
She stoked the hopes of more than 1,000 supporters -- many who waited overnight to meet her -- with forward-looking remarks about her State Department memoir, "Hard Choices."
"It's written for anybody that wants to think about and learn about what is happening in the world today, why America matters and why the world matters to America," she said at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Union Square. "We have a lot of hard choices ahead of us in our country, to make it as great and strong as it should be."
With her words under close scrutiny, Clinton earlier walked back a comment to ABC News Monday that she and former President Bill Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001. They have since earned tens of millions of dollars.
She told "Good Morning America" Tuesday that she is "obviously blessed."
"Let me just clarify that I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans today," she said.Clinton told ABC News she won't decide about running for president until year's end. But the tour and her national interviews were aimed at not only promoting the book but building enthusiasm.
A bus from Ready for Hillary, the super political action committee that would operate independent of her campaign, sat outside Barnes & Noble emblazoned with the words, "Join the movement." A street vendor set up a stand with T-shirts that read, "Elect Hillary 2016."
Security was tight inside the bookstore with customers subjected to tight security measures and prohibited from taking photos -- selfies included -- with Clinton.
Many supporters wore buttons from Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign or ones with a viral photo of her in sunglasses and the message "#TBD," or "to be determined," in reference to her plans for her future.
"Tell me who's better for the job?" Gary Koffsky, 52, of West Islip asked of Clinton's potential rivals in 2016.
He waited in line for nearly nine hours on behalf of his 17-year-old daughter, who views Clinton as a role model and seeks to attend her alma mater, Yale University.
Koffsky was elated after speaking briefly with Clinton, calling her "vibrant and energetic." The former first lady wished his daughter, Victoria, "success in her academic endeavors," he said. Koffsky added that he believes Clinton could have done better in "some hot-spot issues" such as the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, but that voters will have to take the good with the bad.
Mia Kellman, 19, of Lefferts Manor, Brooklyn, a college sophomore, said she would only wait overnight in line for two women: Beyoncé and Clinton. Kellman was not old enough to vote for Clinton in the last election cycle but would support her in 2016.
"I admire that she can be a woman among a world of men," Kellman said.
Clinton signed books for three hours, with the first person in line -- Sean Brennan, 41, of Jamaica, Queens -- queuing up at 2:30 p.m. the previous day for the 11 a.m. event.