Hillary Clinton is on the road — in a van — on the way to Iowa. And she made a very-low key stop Monday at a Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio.
The 2016 presidential candidate, who officially joined the race Sunday, is driving with a handful of close aides and a Secret Service escort from her home in Chappaqua to the first-in-the-nation caucus state in what the campaign says she affectionately refers to as the “Scooby Doo van.”
Chipotle employee Charles Wright, 29, confirmed to NBC News that the former secretary of state, wearing dark sunglasses and a purple coat, came through the line like any customer at the fast-casual restaurant at about 1:15pm ET. She ordered a chicken bowl with guacamole.
Wright said Clinton didn't introduce herself and that, although some crew members thought it might be the presidential candidate, the lack of a Secret Service detail threw them off. Some customers did chat with Clinton, and at least one man snapped photos of her.
He added that Clinton was accompanied by another woman with dark hair. It’s likely that was longtime aide Huma Abedin, who’s traveling with Clinton on the road trip to Iowa.
Sunday evening, Clinton tweeted from a gas station in Pennsylvania, where she said she stopped to chat with a family.
The move is designed to make Clinton, a former first lady who's been in the public spotlight for more than two decades, appear more like a regular American than one of the most famous political figures on the planet.
Republicans point out that it's not a new tactic for Clinton, who also use an armored van nicknamed "Scooby Doo" during her first Senate run in New York in the effort to paint herself as a woman of the people.
Clinton is scheduled to hold her first campaign event on Tuesday in Monticello, Iowa.
On a conference call with reporters on Monday, senior campaign officials said that the focus of Clinton's initial campaign swing in Iowa will be emphasizing personal connections with voters in the state during small and more intimate campaign events.
In addition to two public events in the Hawkeye State this week, Clinton will also be meeting privately with activists and elected officials during the trip, aides said.
- Vaughn Hillyard and Carrie Dann