The Hillary Chipotle story is either one of the most amazing unintended earned-media campaign stories ever, or a contrived set up. Regardless, put points in Team Hillary column.

Maggie Haberman at The NY Times broke the story about Hillary’s supposedly secret trip to Chipotle on her Scooby trip to Iowa.

The story goes like this:

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign is all about “everyday Americans,” she made clear in announcing it on Sunday.

On Monday, she showed how unassuming she herself could be.

Driving to Iowa for her first campaign swing, Mrs. Clinton’s van — with two aides and Secret Service agents aboard — pulled into a Chipotle restaurant for lunch in Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo.

And no one recognized her.

Maybe it was the dark sunglasses. Or maybe she had a certain je ne sais — qui?

But nobody took notice of the celebrity in front of the counter. Fellow patrons paid her no more attention than a driver would get from a toll taker.

Nor did the restaurant’s staff notice Mrs. Clinton, until this reporter, tipped off that she had dined there, telephoned.

The Chipotle manager, Charles Wright, insisted at first that the tip must have been false.

But he offered to review his security-camera recordings, and quickly reversed himself. There was Mrs. Clinton, in a bright pink shirt, ordering a chicken burrito bowl — and carrying her own tray.

“The thing is, she has these dark sunglasses on,” Mr. Wright said. “She just was another lady.”

Haberman explained in a different column:

Driving to Iowa for her first campaign swing on Monday, Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped for lunch at a Chipotle in Maumee, Ohio, outside Toledo. Tipped that she had been there, I called the manager, Charles Wright, but he insisted I was wrong. He offered to check the security footage, though — and there it was. His employees, he said, were kicking themselves.

It fit so neatly into the Clinton campaign narrative: Hillary is just so unassuming, so humble, she doesn’t even let the folks at Chipotle know she’s there; the Scooby trip is not about Hillary, it’s about everyday people, so not making a big deal about being at Chipotle is consistent with the theme.


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The NY Daily news indicates that one customer recognized Hillary, and took pictures of her.

Only one customer seemed to recognize he was in the presence of a newly minted presidential hopeful and snapped some pictures, Wright said.

“He was the only one who really seemed to notice her,” he said.

The media ate it up, and wanted more:

It’s the most popular story at USA Today as of this writing:

Hillary Chipotle USA Today Most Popular

Conservatives didn’t quite know what to do with the story, and were left pretty much gagging:

Call me suspicious when it comes to the Clintons.

If it was public, even if unintended, then a tip to the NY Times would make sense, though it would take someone with knowledge of the Times’ campaign coverage team to know to contact Haberman.

How is it that a little birdie dropped a dime on the secret event after it took place?

I emailed Haberman that question, but have not received a response:

Maybe it’s all innocent. After all, one customer did notice her and took photos. But if he were the tipster, there’d be no need for security camera images.

Perhaps suspicions are unwarranted given Hillary’s long history of complete transparency, trustworthiness, and spontaneity.

I mean, even her Scooby trip in a van is just another spontaneous Hillary Every-Woman decision. Oh, wait:

Daniel Halper book Hillary 2000 Scooby Doo trip

Stop being so suspicious. It’s Hillary, Y’all. She’s authentic. The real deal.

Gag gag.