By Matea Gold
The Washington Post
LOS ANGELES — Hillary Rodham Clinton stood on another stage, facing another overflowing ballroom.
This time the locale was the University of Southern California, where the elegant Town and Gown hall was jammed to capacity Saturday morning with more than 400 members of the country's Latino political and business elite. The agenda: honoring the former secretary of state for her role in inspiring the creation of the Mexican American Leadership Initiative, a group of prominent Latinos who support philanthropic projects in Mexico and promote what Clinton called "a shared future" between the two nations.
But many of those in attendance had another mission as well: demonstrating the commitment of their support — financial and otherwise — if Clinton decides to make another run for the White House.
"What you see here today is an example of people coming out from all corners of the Latino spectrum — from business, from politics, from nonprofits — to get on board early," said Henry Cisneros, a longtime Clinton friend, as he surveyed the crowd filling a sunny plaza before the event.
Cisneros, who served as housing secretary for President Bill Clinton, mused about a possible 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign: "The really interesting thing if this happens is, how do you sort out all the people who are going to get their feelings hurt if they don't have prime roles? Because you can't accommodate everybody."
Clinton's two-day swing through Los Angeles last week showed the deep reservoir of support for her at the ready in California, home to some of the party's most influential fundraisers and Latino leaders. Already, some are scrambling to register their loyalty through whatever means available.
"There's huge energy for her, not only here, but all over California," said Mickey Kantor, who served as commerce secretary under Bill Clinton. "Her roles as a senator, as secretary of state, as first lady — they've made her a star."