Even before the doors opened for students to find a seat to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speak at Syracuse University Monday morning, a line began to form. Over the next couple of hours, it kept growing as a sturdy column of students, faculty, and community members stretched through campus in the cold rain.
SU Senior Zach Schleien says he arrived at 8:30 am. “We were actually at the very end of the line, but we waited it out. It’s really long, let’s say two and a half football fields,” he said.
His friend corrected him. “It’s half a kilometer!”
At ten, about two hours before the Secretary arrived, security personnel began funneling the crowd of more than a thousand through a row of metal detectors.
Syracuse resident Mary Lou Balcom says she wrote Clinton’s name on the ballot in 2008.
“I don’t really agree right now, with a lot of things that are going on. I would just as soon see us out of Iraq and Iran,” Balcom said. “But I really think she’s very diplomatic. I think she’s doing her best to solve a lot of conflicts.”
Some people who waited didn’t even make it inside, when SU’s Hendricks Chapel reached its maximum seating capacity of 1,100 people. But there was one lucky person who escaped the colossal line, quite by accident.
“You know, I parked the car… I saw a back door, and I walked in!” said Clay resident Ed Stronsky. He guesses that his baseball hat that says “News Junkie” made security personnel think he was a reporter.
For an hour, Clinton discussed policy and the difficulty of foreign diplomacy with her former deputy secretary James Steinberg, now Dean of SU’s Maxwell School.
Grad student Laura Alexander said the event reinforced her decision to take the first part of the Foreign Service exam in June.
“I’m very interested in the development side of diplomacy,” she said. “Being able to affect the lives of others in a positive way… not even to affect them, to enable them to affect their own lives in a positive way.”
Alexander will be able to take her first step this summer as an intern for the State Department.
NEXT, NEXT PRESIDENT – Hillary Clinton holds the record for being named Gallup’s most admired woman, 16 years to be exact. Her favorability ratings among the general population are in the mid-sixties and among Democrats she has an 86 percent favorability score. The question now is what is she going to do with this stockpile of good feeling?
She has not always been the most popular or favored political figure whether because she was perceived as too meddlesome, too tough, or not tough enough. But once she became Secretary of State her favorability has remained above 60 percent. And while four years ago her own party was deeply split on her fit as presidential candidate today Democrats from all wings of the party want her to be the nominee in 2016.
According to a poll just released by Public Policy Polling Hillary Clinton has got it in the bag. If the Democratic primary were to be held today she would receive 57 percent of the vote with Vice President Biden coming in at a very distant second with less than 20 percent.
As in 2008, Hillary Clinton has very solid support among women where nine out of ten lady Democrats have a favorable opinion of her. Among the gentleman, that figure drops slightly but only to 8 out of 10 having a favorable opinion of her. And while the glass ceiling isn’t completely cracked, it’s getting there — this poll found that only 10 percent believed that the Democratic nominee should be a man.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denied that she will seek elected office after stepping down from her current position. More specifically she has denied interest in running for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. And while her husband confirms her intent not to run he very recently opened up the door to such a possibility when he said on Good Morning America that if she changes her mind and decides to run, he’d be happy.
Well, according to public opinion a whole heck of a lot of people would also be happy. But there is a Latina friend of mine in Austin, Texas who would be ecstatic. This friend has affirmed to me on multiple occasions that if Hillary Clinton were to run she would quit her job (a very prestigious one at that) and move to Washington DC to work for her campaign without pay!
While the Latino community came to embrace Barack Obama as the nominee and has since consistently supported him, Hillary Clinton was the Latino electorate’s first love in 2008. She won the Latino vote in every primary with the exception of Illinois, by one point, and Virginia.
Clinton wasn’t everyone’s first love in 2008. However, over the course of her tenure as Secretary of State she has been able to woo those who initially did not love, let alone like her. She has gained a respect separate from that of her experience as First Lady or elected official. Through her role on the national stage Hillary Clinton has earned new respect and deepened it among those who already had it.
Anything can happen in four years, but with that stockpile of favorability it would be a shame to not give that glass ceiling that final big crack it needs.
(Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto received her Ph.D. from Duke University and was recently named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine. Her research on political behavior has been widely published in scholarly journals and cited in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Time, and POLITICO. This column was posted first at NBCLatino, LA Progressive.com and drvmds.com)