Hillary Clinton, Touring Child Center in NYC, Dodges Brooklyn Campaign Headquarters Talk

Hillary Rodham Clinton toured an early childhood development center in New York City on Wednesday, appearing alongside the city's first lady to launch a "Talk to Your Baby" public awareness campaign.

But, for many political reporters in the room, the backdrop of the event served as the story.

That's because Clinton appeared in Brooklyn, a mere 5½ miles from the rumored location of the headquarters of her not-quite-announced-yet presidential campaign.

Reporters and photographers packed a small room at the SCO/FirstStepNYC, bewildering staffers at the modest education center in Brownsville. Though the closely controlled event did not allow for questions, Clinton did stop to answer one about whether she would soon return to Brooklyn for a more political purpose.

"All in good time, all in good time," she said with a smile. "I was happy to be here at this exemplary center and touring the work the first lady and the mayor are doing on behalf of our kids."

The former secretary of state, first lady and New York senator is expected to announce her bid for the Democratic nomination in coming weeks. She has close ties to Chirlane McCray and her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who managed her 2000 U.S. Senate bid, calling them her "good friends."

De Blasio, an unabashed liberal, is expected to be a campaign surrogate for Clinton, giving her protection on her left flank, which is where she was vulnerable to attacks from Barack Obama in 2008.

But Clinton's focus on this day was childhood education. She touted the developmental benefits for children if their parents constantly talk to them and the Clinton Foundation's "Too Small to Fail" early childhood education program.

"You are literally building your baby's brain to better prepare that little boy or little girl to do well in school and do well in life," Clinton said during a roundtable with McCray and parents. "So from every experience, your child will be learning words, developing a vocabulary, making it possible to better prepare that child for school."

During a visit to a classroom, Clinton and McCray joined in the reading of the children's book "Brown Bear."

"Oh, that's one of my favorite stories!" Clinton exclaimed with a big smile.

McCray immediately plopped down on the carpet and wrapped one child in a hug. Clinton was handed a small chair — meant for a child — and sat down in the middle of the group, pointing out the various animals in the book to the unsuspecting toddlers.

As the book reached its conclusion, McCray pulled up a chair next to Clinton and they both clapped as the book wrapped up.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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