There was no mistaking the blue love for Hillary Clinton Friday as she walked on stage at the Long Center and was greeted with a long, energetic standing ovation.
"It's wonderful to be back in Austin," she said to a crowd of nearly 2,400, many of them clutching her latest book, Hard Choices. Clinton held a book signing earlier in the day at BookPeople, where a red, white, and blue Ready for Hillary campaign bus was parked outside, courtesy of an organized effort by local and state Democrats.
The former secretary of state stood center stage for the first 25 minutes and talked with ease about her book and her world travels, often to speak with leaders hostile to the U.S. She also spoke about her fond memories of Texas in the early Seventies, when both Hillary and Bill Clinton worked on the presidential campaign of George McGovern.
Clinton drew some of her biggest applause lines in the second half of the program as she sat down for a conversation with the LBJ Library's Mark Updegrove.
It was here that she came closest to tipping her hand that she'll be a Democratic candidate for president, although she said that decision won't be made until the birth of her first grandchild.
A grandchild on the way makes her all the more determined to ensure that there's a healthy, secure, and economically stable U.S. for the next generation, she said. "Our economy needs to be fixed so it works for everybody," she said.
"My vision would be to restore the American dream for the American people, and doing so in a way that restores trust in each other," she said, referring to the entrenched ideological divide in Washington.
Asked what's the biggest misconception about her in the media, Clinton hesitated: "Well, it's hard to say, there's so many."
She went on to say that the best advice on media scrutiny she has learned from the writings of Eleanor Roosevelt. As Clinton recalled from her advice, "If you want to be a woman in public life you have to grow skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros. You have to take criticism seriously, but not personally," she said. "And that is a lot easier said than done.
Copyright © 2015 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.