The fans descended, but who got in?

When I arrived at Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing this morning, I was not surprised to see that there was a line to get in, as there often is even for hearings that don’t feature a former First Lady and Senator in one. But I was surprised to see that the line didn’t have a lot ...

589610_090113_Hearing2.jpg
589610_090113_Hearing2.jpg

When I arrived at Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing this morning, I was not surprised to see that there was a line to get in, as there often is even for hearings that don't feature a former First Lady and Senator in one. But I was surprised to see that the line didn't have a lot of be-suited lobbyists or giddy Congressional interns. As I passed the line heading for the press entrance and trying not to make eye contact, the masses seemed to be comprised mostly of Clinton fans, young and old and resoundingly female. They stood, to a person, with an air of excited anticipation despite the fact that the line was several hundred deep and the hearing about to start.

The front of the line was notably far less patient than the poor souls in the back. A harried Capitol Police officer was turning away people left and right, especially those who thought themselves important enough to skip to the front, and he was also telling a number of very disappointed interns that their Congressional IDs weren't going to get them into this one.

When I arrived at Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing this morning, I was not surprised to see that there was a line to get in, as there often is even for hearings that don’t feature a former First Lady and Senator in one. But I was surprised to see that the line didn’t have a lot of be-suited lobbyists or giddy Congressional interns. As I passed the line heading for the press entrance and trying not to make eye contact, the masses seemed to be comprised mostly of Clinton fans, young and old and resoundingly female. They stood, to a person, with an air of excited anticipation despite the fact that the line was several hundred deep and the hearing about to start.

The front of the line was notably far less patient than the poor souls in the back. A harried Capitol Police officer was turning away people left and right, especially those who thought themselves important enough to skip to the front, and he was also telling a number of very disappointed interns that their Congressional IDs weren’t going to get them into this one.

As another reporter and I showed our press badges and were allowed past the gatekeeper, we were the recipient of a couple of dirty looks from some out-of-towners, who clearly considered themselves VIPs and who then feigned democratic outrage that the press could get into a supposedly full hearing room and not We The People. The Capitol police officer explained that while they do endeavor to seat as many members of the public as possible, the media can actually tell more of America what is going on than the two of them would. The doors closed behind me just as they began to huff and puff again. I haven’t seen them since.

The hearing room is packed with media types (including Andrea Mitchell, who ducked out early), representatives from a number of foreign embassies (many of whose reserved seats in the front two rows have remained empty), Code Pink protestors wearing signs commemorating deaths in Gaza, Hill types, and more than a few regular people, most of whom appear to be dozing off just as we hit the 2-hour-mark, and just as the questions are getting more esoteric and the answers longer. But I can’t blame them for that. I would kill for an intern to get me some coffee right about now, and I’m actually interested in what is being said.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News

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