Democratic Presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s security detail led a handful of journalists on two lengthy high-speed chases to homes of influential Democrats on Monday.
Her lone official appearance on her first day in New Hampshire was a carefully stage-managed small-business roundtable in Keene.
But a lunchtime visit to a main-street bakery and two more appointments later in the day were off-the-books and under the public’s radar.
If police radar had been engaged, however, it would have clocked Hillary’s signature black conversion van – ‘Scooby’, for the uninitiated – hitting 92 mph in a driving rainstorm on Interstate 89, where the top speed limit is 65.
No one in the motorcade displayed flashing lights or blasted a siren.
TRIAL BALLOON: A New Hampshire political operative described Hillary Clinton’s afternoon meeting at this Claremont, NH home as an entree toward an endorsement by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The home belongs to one of Shaheen’s trusted aides
OFF TO THE RACES: Clinton returned to her beloved Mystery Machine following her afternoon house party
FINISH LINE: Clinton’s entourage dined and partied at the home of former New Hampshire state Senate President Sylvia Larsen
After Clinton emerged from Whitney Brothers, a children’s furniture manufacturer, her black Chevy conversion van raced an hour north to the town of Claremont, hitting 73 in a 55 mph zone.
Two hours later Scooby was on the move to Concord, bookended by a Secret Service detail that parted the puddles and kept the motorcade nose-to-tail – with the caboose car slamming on the brakes time and again.
The Claremont event took Clinton to the home of Bethany Yurek, a constituent services ‘special assistant’ to New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Yurek is not a Washington heavy-hitter, but is part of Shaheen’s inner circle.
A political operative close to Shaheen’s New Hampshire office said the meeting was meant to include a discussion about nudging the senator toward a presidential endorsement.
In the nation’s first presidential primary voting state, an early nod from a sitting senator to a former senator could carry enough weight to ward off Clinton’s potential competitors.
Yurek did not respond to phone messages seeking comment, and Clinton’s campaign made arrangements only for the New York Times to attend.
SCOOBY SIGHTINGS: On Monday the CLinton campagin-mobile made stops in three New Hampshire towns
PIT STOP: Scooby’s Secret Service driver gassed up Hillary’s chariot before opening up her engine and pushing it to 92 mph
MEET MOLLY: Clinton enjoyed the oldest campaign tactic in the book – posing with a baby – on Monday in the New Hampshire town of Keene, and gushed that she wanted to bring the infant home with her
In Claremont, according to tweets from a Times reporter, the wealthy former secretary of state’s messaging featured progressive-friendly lines about income inequality.
‘The deck is stacked in their favor,’ she said of America’s super-rich. ‘My job is to reshuffle the cards.’
Clinton and her husband, the former president, are themselves among America’s much-derided ‘one per cent’ richest.
She also sounded an alarm about capital gains tax cuts for big banks being the ‘root’ of America’s economic malaise.
That seems calibrated to appeal to Democrats on her left flank – those who are pining for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to enter the race.
Clinton’s Concord stop was a 7:00 dinner event at the sprawling home of former New Hampshire state Senate President Sylvia Larsen.
GOOD NIGHT’S REST: Clinton and her traveling campaign team stayed Monday night at the Centennial hotel, a Victoria property full of ’boutique furniture pieces and chic art taken from the pages of Vogue’
TOP AIDE: Huma Abedin, Hillary’s right-hand woman, is on the campaign trail and stayed by Clinton’s side as they stopped at a bakery in Keene on Monday
Larsen is a longtime Clinton loyalist who endorsed Hillary’s first presidential bid in 2007. She hosted a ‘Ready For Hillary’ house party in February at the same home that hosted the candidate herself on Monday night.
That house is steeped in Clinton lore. When then-Governor Bill Clinton filed his papers to run in the 1992 New Hampshire primary, it was Hillary who delivered the documents to the state capitol.
Her last stop before making that trek in the rain was a gathering of professional women at Larsen’s home.
On Tuesday the Clinton campaign will remain in Concord for a second roundtable event – this time at the New Hampshire Technical Institute, the local community college.
They’ll be well-rested.
On Monday night Clinton and her team stayed at the Centennial hotel in Concord, a Victorian-era complex full of ’boutique furniture pieces and chic art taken from the pages of Vogue,’ according to the hotel’s website.