Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially kicked off her front-running presidential campaign in New York City on a picturesque Saturday afternoon.
But before her flood of supporters could see her speak, they had to make their way to the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, which is on the east side of Manhattan.
Those who were too early had to line up across from the New York skyline before they were allowed in.
Some of the rally attendees who arrived earliest even gave up standing as the line snaked along the side of Roosevelt Island.
Security was also relatively tight and a number of items were forbidden, including umbrellas and cigarette lighters. One officer told attendees that they would be lucky if they’d be able to get their items back after the event.
Here’s what the pile of banned artifacts looked like towards the end of the Clinton rally.
Not everyone there for the Clinton event was a supporter, however. One man named Bob Kunst held a number of anti-Clinton protest signs, including one demanding the former secretary of state “stop being a jerk.”
Kunst told Business Insider that he used to back Clinton but he felt she betrayed Israel with her policies in the State Department. He also handed out fliers that pilloried Clinton on a range of issues, including her decision to hold her kickoff rally on the Jewish Sabbath.
A couple dozen Republican staffers also crashed Clinton’s event. Three of them apparently got into the event itself while others chanted anti-Clinton slogans in the public space outside of the rally.
Raffi Williams, deputy press secretary for the Republican National Committee, was one of those who got in while wearing “Stop Hillary” T-shirts.
Later in the event, however, the three were wearing the same shirts but turned inside out. Williams claimed an event aide demanded they hide the anti-Clinton slogans.
Of course, the vast majority of the throngs of people at the Roosevelt Island rally were passionate Clinton supporters, many of whom were sporting official campaign gear like “Yaaas, Hillary!” T-shirts.
The droves of supporters arrived steadily throughout the morning as Clinton’s official Spotify playlist blasted throughout the park. Several of the songs played multiple times, including Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Andrew told Business Insider that he supported Clinton’s 2016 bid because “it’s her time.”
Elected officials also milled around, and Roosevelt Island’s local state assemblywoman, congresswoman, and councilman were all in attendance. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) said the island was a perfect place for Clinton to launch her campaign because former President Franklin D. Roosevelt shaped the modern Democratic Party.
Local New York City Councilman Ben Kallos (D), who was undecided on the presidential race earlier in the year, said Clinton had won him over with her recent advocacy for universal voter registration:
In addition to the throngs of Clinton supporters and occasional Republican operatives, a swarm of reporters also filled their designated space. Many of the journalists there struggled to see the stage amid the dozens of cameras and even more people.
Here’s just one small part of the press pen.
Several musical groups performed on the main stage before Clinton gave her big speech, including a Brooklyn drumline and the California rock band Echosmith. Additionally, a Clinton volunteer and self-described “Dreamer” recounted her immigrant story in Spanish.
Finally, Clinton herself took to the stage to the loud cheers of her supporters. She first announced her long-expected presidential campaign back in April, but her team said that would be followed by a relatively slow “ramp up” phase as she prepared to officially announce her candidacy Saturday.
The speech itself was aggressive and Clinton directly accused the entire Republican field of representing the policies of “yesterday.” The former secretary of state issued a variety of policy statements, including vows to rewrite US tax code, protect LGBT rights, push back the Islamic State jihadists (also known as ISIS), combat global climate change, and more.
“We can build an economy where hard work is rewarded. We can strengthen our families. We can defend our country and increase our opportunities all over the world. And we can renew the promise of our democracy,” she said.
Here’s Clinton waving to her supporters.
Clinton also warned that Republicans were going to try and tear her down.
“It’s no secret that we’re going up against some pretty powerful forces that will do and spend whatever it takes,” she said. “But I’ve spent my life fighting for children, families, and our country, and I’m not stopping now.”
One of the biggest applause lines came when the 67-year-old Clinton made a self-deprecating joke about her own age.
“I may not be the youngest candidate in this race,” she quipped, “but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.”
After her speech, her supporters headed out back to the subway station, their cars, or the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which connects the island to the rest of Manhattan.
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee staffers were still outside the event chanting away against Clinton’s “shady” record.
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