Ready for Hillary? Bus tour aiming to gauge, build support for Clinton White House run stops at Penn State campus

People gather near the Ready for Hillary campaign bus outside the HUB on Friday.
People gather near the Ready for Hillary campaign bus outside the HUB on Friday. CDT photos

She may not even be a candidate yet, but that hasn’t stopped people from drumming up support for a Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.

The Hillary Bus, the mobile unit for the support movement Ready for Hillary, made a stop on the Penn State campus Friday, and supporters handed out posters, bumper stickers and buttons in an effort to ensure Clinton finds the support she needs if she decides to run for the Oval Office.

The Ready for Hillary campaign is a “nationwide grass-roots movement encouraging the former secretary of state to run for president in 2016,” according to the campaign’s website. The bus has been following the former first lady while she tours the country promoting her memoir, “Hard Choices.”

People of all ages quickly gathered around the bus, grabbing up Clinton “swag” and taking selfies while providing their information to be called on if Clinton throws her hat in the race.

“Wow! Almost didn’t have enough clipboards for today’s Penn State stop!” the Hillary Bus tweeted from its official Twitter account.

Despite age differences, the attendees shared their hope that Clinton would step into the presidential race.

“I have friends who are Republican women who are solidly for Hillary,” said Vicki Smith, of State College. “I think people realize now we have a lot of people in Congress who aren’t doing anything, but she’s been there. She’s done a lot.”

Vicki Sutton, also of State College, said, “She has a lot more gravitas” than any of the other potential candidates.

Kaitlyn Warner, 17, Caela Camazine, 17, and Meredith Tillotson, 18, all of State College, said they were big Clinton supporters — and they all will eligible to vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016.

“(Clinton) appeals to a ton of different demographics,” Camazine said. She also said it was important for younger voters to be aware of the issues. “We’re the people voting. We have to make informed decisions,” she said.

“I think a lot of people aren’t thinking about it yet, because it seems so far away,” Tillotson said. “The more involved you are, the more you know, the more informed you’ll be to make a better decision.”

The Hillary Bus started its tour in early June, according to communications director Seth Bringman, who has been riding with the bus since the beginning. The tour kicked off with an event in Iowa and has been following Clinton ever since.

“We’ve held events like these,” Bringman said, “but also happy hours and house parties. We’re also active on Twitter.”

The bus acts as a mobile billboard for Clinton along the highway and at rest stops, he said.

Before the Penn State stop, it was in Pittsburgh, he said, and was scheduled to be in Harrisburg on Friday night. Come Monday, the group plans to park outside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and campaign during that night’s Katy Perry concert.

The goal of the trip is to show Clinton all the support she has across the country, Bringman said. “We do that through social media, through the press, through pictures and sheer numbers.

“If she decides to run, she’ll have millions of supporters behind her from the first day.”

Bringman said the campaign is all about tapping into the energy of the voters and harnessing that enthusiasm to help Clinton run.

“It’s been a fun adventure,” he said, “meeting people across the country and seeing the enthusiasm for Hillary.”