Hillary Clinton quietly slipped into Miami on Thursday to address a travel agents convention in a speech where the former secretary of state said little about troubles abroad or the future ambitions of the likely presidential-race frontrunner.
Clinton slipped a question about what it would take for the United States to elect its first female leader, Clinton was quick with a joke.
“Well, it’ll take a crazy person,” she said, drawing laughs from the crowd at the American Society of Travel Agents’ global convention
Though ostensibly not political, Clinton’s address had the makings of an introductory campaign speech. Campaigns are often highly controlled events, but the ASTA conference at Hyatt Regency Miami kicked it up a notch.
At one point, a member of the audience, Andrew Rothberg, had his Galaxy Note II smartphone taken from him by security, which removed his picture of Clinton onstage and then gave his device back in front of a Miami Herald reporter in the auditorium stands.
“It’s crazy,” Rothberg said.
“That’s American politics,” said a docent, one of a handful of hotel security and volunteers who roamed the aisles looking for people taking pictures or making recordings. None was allowed.
“I wanted to take pictures for my girls; I have four girls,” Rothberg, who was writing a piece about the conference for Boca Raton-based Grey Matters Magazine, told the Miami Herald. “I think Hillary Clinton who is probably running for president in 2016 would want all the publicity she could get and I think it’s kind of ironic they would take the camera away.”
Rothberg said he was more puzzled than upset. He said he guessed at one point that Clinton’s handlers might have wanted to control the event to keep activists from infiltrating the event and raising awareness about issues like the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. But he wasn’t sure.
Clinton’s speech came a day after congressional Republicans led another hearing into the attacks and faulted her and the administrations preparations am response to the Sept. 11 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, security officers and former Navy SEALs.
Clinton didn't address the topic.