Anatomy of a Hillary Clinton trip: Stump, sell, get paid

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton was in Miami on Thursday for a fundraiser, a book event and a speech
  • Clinton touted Charlie Crist, who's running for governor again
  • Clinton has four similar trips planned across the U.S. this month alone
Hillary Clinton covered all her bases in Miami on Thursday: She padded her wallet with a paid speech, pitched her memoir with a book signing and fundraised for a Democrat in a critical presidential state.
This is becoming a familiar formula for Clinton. In October alone Clinton has four trips planned -- to Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas and San Francisco -- where she will combine a paid speech with either a book event or a fundraiser for a Democratic candidate or group.
The strategy is part logistical, part practical for Clinton. But as she considers a presidential run in 2016, it is also calculated. Campaigning for Democrats in 2014 allows her to curry favor with her party ahead of 2016, while selling her book and speaking to paid gigs lets her raise her profile (not that it is needed) and toy with talking points in front of supportive audiences.
Clinton ended her day Thursday in Florida at the sprawling Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables at a fundraiser for Charlie Crist, Florida's Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democratic candidate for governor.
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The event was closed to the press, but according to multiple sources in the room, Clinton both touted Crist as the right choice for governor and spoke about bigger picture issues like the a woman's right to choose, growing the middle class and the importance of the space program to Florida.
The audience responded well to Clinton's fundraising calls, according to those in the room, and a Crist campaign spokesman told CNN that the event raised roughly $1 million for the Democrat's effort. The most expensive table at the event cost $50,000.
Clinton also said, according to one source, that she believed in "redemption and second chances," a remark that was seen as an acknowledgment of Crist's past as a Republican who called on Bill Clinton to resign the presidency during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The former Secretary of State started her day, however, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, a white washed, swanky establishment were the Clinton was paid to appear before 1,200 people at the Commercial Real Estate Women Network Convention.
The event was announced in May, long before her appearance with Crist was announced last month.
Her speech to the women's group focused almost exclusively on attaining an equal playing field for women in business, sports and politics. Clinton called for paid leave, affordable childcare and equal pay for equal work during her speech -- all issues that would likely make up corner stones of a hypothetical presidential run.
"I believe if we don't dare to compete," Clinton told the women, "we will never know what we are capable of doing."
She later implored the women in the audience to take risks: "I cannot tell you how important it is for women like us, all of you and me and other like us, to model that risk taking. To get out of our own comfort zones, to be willing to fail. I have done that, too, on a very large stage."
The crowd was receptive, with one woman holding up a sign from Clinton's failed 2008 presidential campaign.
"You look beautiful," one woman screamed at the start of the speech. "I think it is a grandmother glow," a loose and comfortable Clinton retorted.
Shortly after the event, Clinton and her relatively small traveling entourage whisked across town to Book & Books in Coral Gables to sign copies of her memoir "Hard Choices."
While Clinton's book events have become more sporadic than they were over the summer, the Miami event was added long after Clinton's attendance at CREW was confirmed.
Over a thousand well-wishers braved the suffocating humidity and soaking rain to shake hands with Clinton and exchange pleasantries. Outside the event, Ready for Hillary -- the super PAC trailing Clinton to book events -- signed supporters up.
"Looks like there are some teeth coming in," proclaimed Clinton when she was presented a toddler. "Goodness you are well dressed today," she joked to a man dressed in a blue stars and stripes sport coat.
As for 2016 -- a question that came up a handful of times -- Clinton dodged and laughed. "I'm waiting for you to announce, I hope it will be soon," said one woman. "Thank you," Clinton responded.
And just like that, after less than 12 hours in Miami, Clinton and her entourage were back to New York. All in a days work for a women who has books to sell, money to make and Democrats to support.
Oh yeah, and a 2016 presidential campaign to consider.