CEDAR RAPIDS — Barb Hartle and Anita Sieh walked away from Brewhemia when they saw the size of the lunch hour crowd inside.
“Then we saw the bus and came back,” Hartle, an ardent Democrat said Thursday after joining former President Bill Clinton’s impromptu stop at the NewBo coffeehouse in southeast Cedar Rapids.
“And it was pretty damn exciting,” Hartle said.
High school senior Danica Dosmann had a similar reaction when she walked in and saw the former president mingling with Brewhemia clientele.
“Oh my God,” she said and immediately pulled out her phone to take pictures.
“This is the first election I get to vote — for Hillary — and I haven’t even seen her, but I’ve seen Bill,” the future political science major from Chandler, Arizona, said. She and her mother, Carol, were on their way to campus visits at Luther College in Decorah and Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.,
They weren’t the only ones surprised by Clinton’s drop-in. Owner Andrea Shriver said the coffeehouse heard about the visit from a news reporter less than 30 minutes before the former president arrived.
Regulars took it in stride.
“I guess we picked a good day to stop in for coffee,” said Jill Clayton who had been visiting with Kolton Haight, both of Cedar Rapids, for a couple of hours before getting to visit with Clinton.
“He said he’d heard this was the best cup of coffee in Iowa,” she said.
Clinton was on his way to Mount Vernon where he spoke for nearly 45 minutes to about 600 people on the lawn at Cornell College about early voting the importance of electing his wife, Democratic Hillary Clinton. Much of his remarks were about youth, aging and the future.
“Having lost it, I can tell you youth matters,” the 70-year-old Clinton joked.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
He encouraged the students, many who weren’t born when he first ran for president in 1992, to take care of themselves because advances in science and medicine may make it possible for them to live healthy lives beyond 100.
He also talked about Bob Dylan, who received the Nobel award for literature earlier in the day, citing the folk singer’s song, “Forever Young” as a guide to their future as well as the country’s.
“You don’t get old if you memories don’t outweigh your dreams,” he said.
America has always been a “tomorrow country,” Clinton said as he encouraged the students not to give up on their nation.
“You should be happy about the future. You should make it. You own it. It’s yours,” Clinton said.
More than 275 people cast ballots at the Cornell satellite voting site Thursday, according to the Linn County Auditor’s Office.