Shelly Jones wiped away tears after a brief encounter Monday with former Democratic presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I love Hillary," Jones told Colorado Politics. "She represents to me that women can do anything. She shattered this glass ceiling for us and we'll shatter the next one for her."
Jones was among a thousand people lined up at the East Colfax Avenue Tattered Cover bookstore on Monday, eager to meet Clinton and grab an autographed copy of "What Happened," Clinton's analysis of her failed 2016 bid to become the first woman president.
The event sold out within hours of its announcement last September.
The audience for Clinton's noon book signing was overwhelming female, likely at least an 8:1 ratio of women to men. It included a few young women like Olivia Hendrick, age 12, who just wanted to see her hero and show her that "I support her in everything she does." Although she's still too young to vote, Hendrick indicated she may one day follow in Clinton's path. "I'd make sure everyone was safe, had healthcare, and that no one felt they weren't getting the attention or resources to survive," she said.
More than one person walked away from meeting Clinton emotional. George Zamarripa of Denver said Clinton is inspirational, and "in my mind she's our president." Zamarripa said he told Clinton it was an honor to meet her and to say thank you. "I feel like I'll be thinking about it for the next couple of days ... three million votes," he added, referring to the number of popular votes Clinton won by over President Donald Trump, whose victory was decided by the Electoral College vote.
"Inspiring" was a term several used to describe how they feel about Clinton.
"We have to believe in the future," said Amanda Holden of Denver. She said she felt inspired by Clinton's work and service. "I came because I believe in a better future for my sister and me and my son."
Rachel Johnson has already read "What Happened," and came to the book signing to deliver a letter to Clinton. She told Colorado Politics the letter thanked Clinton for her efforts but to stop apologizing for what happened in 2016. "It just wasn't her time yet," Johnson said.
Dr. Jennifer Hronkin said she has been inspired by Clinton for many years. During the 2016 campaign season, Hronkin became part of a group of women physicians, initially calling themselves Physician Women for Hillary. Although devastated by the election results, the group was galvanized into action, becoming Physician Women for Democratic Principles, which now encourages women to run for elected office and to fundraise for causes such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Syrian Medical Society. "We turned our sorrow into action," Hronkin said.
"I would have done anything to meet her," said Kimberly Southern-Weber of Longmont. Clinton has always been a role model, she said, and has taught her that she can achieve whatever she wants and "to never put aside my dreams."
But not everyone loves Clinton, as indicated by a handful of anti-Clinton protestors congregated across the street from the bookstore, who waved flags, a Trump/Pence banner and sign blaming Clinton for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. A two-year U.S. House investigation into the attack, which cost taxpayers $7 million, found no evidence of misconduct by then Secretary of State Clinton.