On Hillary Clinton’s Book Tour, Being First in Line Comes With Perils

Get in line the afternoon before a big book release, and you’re going to get mobbed by reporters.

The sprawling line outside of the Hillary Clinton book release in New York City, Tuesday, June 10, 2014.
National Journal
Alex Seitz-Wald
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Alex Seitz-Wald
June 10, 2014, 4:45 a.m.

NEW YORK — Sean Bren­nan didn’t in­tend to be­come the lead of this story, nor the dozens of oth­er art­icles he will ap­pear in on Tues­day. He didn’t even care about be­ing first, he just wanted a copy of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s book and to get to­geth­er with a group of fel­low Clin­ton fans who have made a tra­di­tion out of get­ting in line early for Hil­lary and Bill’s books.

But when he showed up at 2:30 Monday af­ter­noon out­side the Barnes and No­bel in Uni­on Square in Man­hat­tan, he found him­self at the be­gin­ning of a line that didn’t yet ex­ist for the first stop of Clin­ton’s book tour, which would kick off the next morn­ing.

Armed with apples, pea­nut but­ter, a sand­wich, and some bottled wa­ter, the ques­tions from the press came quickly, with Busi­ness In­sider call­ing him ” the first har­binger of 2016” in a post pub­lished late Monday even­ing.

By 7:30 the next morn­ing, when I talk to him (after wait­ing for in­ter­views with two for­eign re­port­ers to con­clude), he says he’s lost track of the num­ber of in­ter­views he’s giv­en. More than 30? “Oh, def­in­itely,” he says. “Ja­pan, Ger­many, UK, I’ve been around the world.” Most New York­ers prob­ably haven’t even had their morn­ing cof­fee yet.

The ques­tions are mostly the same. Yes, he real­izes he’ll only have “four seconds” with Clin­ton. He’ll tell her he hopes she runs. He dozed off in line for about 25 minutes. He’s feel­ing good, but will prob­ably crash after get­ting the book. He’s from Queens. He’s vo­lun­teered for her past cam­paigns. Yes, of course, he’s ex­cited to be “the first one to get the book,” though it was sort of an ac­ci­dent.

There’s no con­sol­a­tion prize for second or third, however, who sit feet away un­mo­les­ted as two more re­port­ers be­hind me queue to ask Bren­nan the same ques­tions.

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