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.
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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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