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Not Clinton’s van. (Photo: Getty Images/File)
Shortly after officially launching her 2016 presidential bid Sunday with a video saying she wants to be the champion of “everyday Americans,“ Hillary Clinton hit the road for Iowa — in a minivan.
The former secretary of state is making the 1,000-mile, 15-hour trek from Chappaqua, N.Y., to America’s heartland in what she calls the "Scooby" van, a reference to the "Mystery Machine” featured in the animated cartoon series “Scooby-Doo.”
Late Sunday, Clinton tweeted a photo from a Pennsylvania gas station where she posed with a family.
Road trip! Loaded the van & set off for IA. Met a great family when we stopped this afternoon. Many more to come. -H pic.twitter.com/5Va7zeR8RP
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton)
“I just saw her and I was like, ‘There’s no way that’s her!’” Chris Learn, a 19-year-old Penn State Altoona student, told CNN. “She didn’t really say why she was there, but I was guessing it was for presidential stuff.”
The “Scooby" van is scheduled to arrive in Iowa in time for Clinton’s first official campaign event, a sit-down with students and teachers at a community college Monday afternoon.
The trip, like her campaign itself, is part of an effort to revamp Clinton’s image, showing she is not a detached Washington insider but approachable, humble and, possibly, able to pump her own gas.
“This was her idea and she has been really excited about it,” Clinton senior aide Huma Abedin said late Sunday during a conference call with reporters. “We’ve been driving for a good part of today.”
But Clinton herself isn’t doing any of the driving. The Secret Service is behind the wheel for the former first lady, who admitted last year she hasn't driven a car since 1996.
Clinton arrives in Paris in 2012, when she was secretary of state. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters/Pool)
“I have to confess that one of the regrets I have about my public life is that I can’t drive anymore,” Clinton said in a keynote speech at the 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association convention. “My husband thinks that’s a blessing, but he’s the one who should talk.”
“Last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996, and I remember it very well,” she continued. “Unfortunately so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven’t driven since then.”
On Twitter, there were unconfirmed sightings of Clinton’s three-car caravan as it rolled along Interstate 80 toward the early-caucus state.
Rumored design for Hillary Clinton’s van. pic.twitter.com/Qia1Frma95
— Michael Hendrix (@michael_hendrix)
According to Jennifer Jacobs, a political reporter for the Des Moines Register, some national news organizations were looking for the “Scooby" van, too.
Hillary Clinton mania in full swing. I’m hearing some national news organizations, by road or by air, are trying to find her Iowa-bound van.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs)
“We know at some point she’ll get OJed like the White Bronco,” an unnamed campaign aide told Politico. “But it’s worth the risk. ... If she gets mobbed or we have a circus-type scene, that’s one day in an 18-month campaign, and we can deal with it.”