Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Philadelphia last Friday to sign copies of her new book, “Hard Choices” — and a Penn student was first in line to meet her.
Fels Institute of Government MPA candidate and 2014 College graduate Dylan Hewitt arrived at the Free Library of Philadelphia at 5:30 a.m., about an hour before the next person in line, to secure the first spot in line.
Originally from upstate New York, Hewitt remarked that he’s “had the pleasure of being represented” by Clinton.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke were present to greet the former first lady. Former congresswoman, 1963 College graduate and Fels professor Marjorie Margolies — whose son married Clinton’s daughter — was also in attendance.
One thousand people in total braved the sweltering weather to line up in wait for Clinton. Tickets — which sold for $35 each and included a copy of the book — sold out in under 24 hours, library Director of Communication Alix Gerz said.
Despite speculation of a bid for the 2016 presidential election, Clinton gave attendees no inclination of her political plans and delivered no formal statement. While smiling at the slew of cameras with a copy of “Hard Choices,” Clinton said that the event was “the red carpet of books.”
Clinton’s entrance into the book signing room — appropriately stationed in the library’s government wing — elicited cheers from attendees. One voice exclaimed, “She’s a real person!”
The jubilant crowd was not the only factor infusing the book signing with a campaign-like feel. Campaign buttons peppered the line of attendees, and folks could purchase new ones outside the library with slogans such as “Hillary 2016” and “Madame President.”
The pro-Clinton political action committee Ready for Hillary — and their boldly painted bus — were noticeably present, likely hoping to add to their support base in preparation for Clinton’s possible declaration of candidacy.
For Hewitt, meeting Clinton was worth the early start.
“I thanked her for her service and I’m sure the best is yet to come,” Hewitt said as he exited the signing room.
After shaking hands with Clinton and obtaining his signed book, Hewitt stopped to exchange words with Margolies.
“She’s a close mentor of mine,” he said of the former representative. “She’s been my professor over the past three years, and I worked closely on her campaign.”
In Hewitt’s copy of her book, Clinton wrote a single word: “Hillary.”
“It’s all I need,” Hewitt said.