PCC students were among the hundreds who waited for hours to meet former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday.The line stretched all around the block at Vroman’s Bookstore on Colorado Boulevard. People came from far and wide to have Clinton sign their copy of his new book, ‘Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.’
Clayton Davis, 18, a political science major at PCC, said he had been in line with his mother, Beth Baird, since 6 a.m. “I want to go into working for the government, and [Clinton] was the president all while I was growing up.”
A thousand copies of the book were made available for the event via a voucher system. Many of Clinton’s fans said they felt this was their once in a lifetime chance to shake hands with the former president.
The waiting crowd spontaneously applauded and cheered wildly when Clinton, looking refreshed and young for a 61-year-old, entered the room.
The author commented, “There’s a lot of interest in this. You know, there’s a huge explosion in America of charitable giving not just of money but [of] time. The Internet’s made it possible for a lot of those givers to do things they could never do before,” he said.
“I wrote this book basically to try to give people examples of what they could do no matter how much money, or time, or skills, or whatever they have or don’t have. There’s always something they can do. I think there’s an enormous amount of interest in the country.”
Clinton then walked over to a mountain of his books and a table that stood chest high.
He greeted the well-mannered fans with a hearty, “Come in everybody! Who’s first?” He spent a few seconds with each fan, talking and shaking hands, all the while signing each book with his left hand.
At one point he hugged an elderly woman, Deborah Marie Butcher, after she told him she had fainted outside.
The paramedics had been called to treat her and suggested she go to the hospital but she refused. She told them she had to stay to meet the former president.
Some supporters slept overnight on the sidewalk in order to be among the first in line to meet the former president.
A pair of friends toward the front of the line, Isabel Selak and Kristen Carhill, had waited since 11:30 p.m. Monday. “I love Bill. He’s been the best president in my lifetime”, Selak said.
Carhill added that she felt this would be her only chance to meet the former president because this was the “only place in California on Clinton’s book tour.”
Security was extraordinary for the event. The attendees were told a few hours before Clinton was due to arrive at 2 p.m. that they would not be allowed to bring bags, backpacks, purses, cell phones, sunglasses, or wallets into the store. All those items had to be stored in their cars. Only car keys, cash and credit cards were allowed to be in their possession in the signing area.