NEW YORK -- Hillary Clinton, who spent decades on the public stage in a myriad of roles and changing personas, emerged Tuesday in a new one: ghost from the political past.
The reception was decidedly mixed.
On the day marking publication of her latest memoir, the former first lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state, two-time Democratic White House hopeful and loser of the searing 2016 presidential race made a flurry of campaign-style stops, including a book signing and batch of media interviews.
It was a chance to open old wounds and allow partisans to fall back on familiar positions.
For Clinton fans, their ardor undimmed, the re-emergence of their heroine offered a chance to ponder what might have been.
In New York City, hundreds lined up at a Manhattan Barnes & Noble for a chance to shake her hand, enjoy a snatch of conversation and buy their own autographed copy of "What Happened."
Shannon and Jessica Marshall, 29-year-old twin sisters from New York, dug out of their cupboards the blue "I'm With Her" T-shirts that they hadn't worn since the early hours of Nov. 9, when Clinton conceded defeat. "The world would be a lot less stressful if she'd won," said Shannon, who arrived at 5 a.m. to be among the first in line.
For some, Clinton was even more appealing in defeat than she seemed as the once-prohibitive front-runner. "Women are always dumped on and disrespected," said 24-year-old Brandon Powell, who crossed the Brooklyn Bridge from Flatbush to see Clinton. "She's a hero for the way she stood up under pressure."
The former candidate, wearing a luminescent turquoise jacket and trademark black pantsuit, arrived at the bookstore nearly an hour after the scheduled 11 a.m. starting time. The crowd greeted her with shouts of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"
Seated on a makeshift stage separating her from reporters and those in line, Clinton made no public remarks to the media, but chatted with fans, offering sympathetic bromides to the many who expressed their grief over the election's outcome.