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Hillary Rodham Clinton book signing draws fans -- and some critics -- to Huntington's Book Revue

Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book

Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book "Hard Choices" at the Book Revue in Huntington Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Credit: Chuck Fadely

Laura Cerrano, 30, of Farmingdale waited on line for more than seven hours to meet Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State whose appearance and new memoir, "Hard Choices," drew more than 1,000 people onto Huntington's main drag Wednesday night.

Cerrano said she wanted to "be a part of history" in meeting Clinton, who ran for president in 2008 and is a potential 2016 candidate.

"It's an experience, once in a lifetime," she said, adding that she arrived at Huntington's Book Revue at 11 a.m., but did not get to shake Clinton's hand until after 6 p.m. "How often do you get to meet Hillary Clinton?"

All of the 1,200 books that the bookstore ordered were sold -- complete with Clinton's signature on them, said bookstore officials. And as many as 1,000 people snaked around the shelves snapping selfies and pictures of Clinton as well as the photographers and reporters invited there.

"I just love her," said Danielle Steinmetz, 23, of Wantagh. "She's such an inspiration and role model. It's great to finally meet her. It's a dream come true."

But not everyone who came to the book store on New York Avenue, north of Main Street, was a Clinton devotee.

"This is our statement to her: She lied. She's a liar," said Rosemarie Brady, of Dix Hills, who was among a group of about 50 people who held protest signs across the street from the event.

The demonstrators lined New York Avenue's east side, while those hoping to get a peek of Clinton waited on the west side of the street. The groups exchanged remarks -- sometimes loudly over the din of rush-hour traffic -- as a cadre of Suffolk police kept watch.

The demonstrators' signs had various messages: "Benghazi Does Matter" and "Support Our Troops Not Benghazi Hillary."

"We don't like her," Brady said. "We don't trust her. We're offended by her."

Some of the protesters were members of Oath Keepers, an organization that describes itself as "a nonpartisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to 'defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.' "

Tyrone Costa, the group's sergeant-at-arms for Suffolk County, said Clinton has a shoddy record.

"She didn't tell the truth when she made it on the tarmac in Croatia," he said, referring to a March 1996 trip Clinton made to Tuzla, Bosnia, as first lady. Clinton said she arrived amid gunfire at the airport, but a news crew that accompanied her on the trip documented no such hostilities.

Clinton's critics didn't stop longtime supporter Mike Prete, 63, of Smithtown from showing up. He said he has been impressed with Clinton's record as secretary of state, adding that he hopes she runs for president again.

"I've followed her career," said Prete, who retired five years ago from a job in the financial sector. "I'm hoping that she does run."

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