LOUISVILLE — The 67th American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, came to town Friday as a guest of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. Peace lilies flanked the stage. And judging from the reception, and even from the introduction by Kentucky's longest serving senator, she was most heartily welcome to be here.
"I'm here to see Hillary," said Crystal Christy, 30, of Louisville. "I'm very excited."
Before Clinton's entrance, a spokesman for the university made a polite announcement about how the McConnell Center has often had members from both sides of the political aisle as its guests and asked that audience members "be respectful."
Clinton's welcome, even when not effusive, was, well, welcoming.
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"I'm interested in what she has to say," said James Grider, 23, who explained he was "not necessarily a fan" but it's not every day you see a secretary of state. Clinton spoke at length about the necessity of protecting the United States and its allies from nuclear proliferation. She took pains to talk about the bipartisanship of it all. She smiled a lot. Late in the day, the sun streamed directly into her eyes and she took that in stride.
If the secretary of state looked out through the tall windows, she could have seen the university's baseball field and, then, farther and a little to the left, Churchill Down's legendary spires. Farther still, the lushness of Louisville and, dare we say it, Indiana. She might also have viewed the protesters on the south side of Cardinal Stadium who seemed to have concerned the Secret Service inside the building but only so much as a mention into their wrist watches. Inside the room, Clinton remarked she saw a lot of friendly faces.
Indeed. The first person in line Friday was Olivia Anne Morris Fuchs, founder of Team Hillary Kentucky and one of the 300 women who placed Clinton's name in nomination for the presidency at the Democratic convention in 2008.
"I love her," said Fuchs. "She is the most intelligent person I've had the privilege to know, the warmest, the most compassionate. I'm thrilled she's our face to the world."