NEW YORK - Hundreds of people stood in line Monday morning, some after waiting through the night, for the chance to get Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to autograph her new book.
Employees of a Barnes & Noble bookstore in midtown Manhattan began issuing wristbands, like those issued to ticket buyers at rock concerts, to buyers of her "Living History" at 8:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. book signing.
Only 250 wristbands were being handed out, entitling the wearers to meet the senator during the signing.
"I'm a big fan of Hillary's and Bill's," said Greg Packer, who was the first in line, arriving at 9 p.m. Sunday. Packer, 39, a highway maintenance worker from Huntington, planned to buy two books - the limit - because Clinton "has a lot to say."
Just before the signing, Clinton told reporters at a Manhattan hotel that her critics also could benefit from reading her memoirs.
"I think if people read the book with an open mind they may be surprised, they may learn a few things, they may decide that maybe they weren't given a full picture of what had gone on," Clinton said.
In spite of the limit on wristbands, the crowd kept growing on a line behind police barricades near a side entrance to the Fifth Avenue store. Those not issued wristbands still hoped they had a chance to meet the senator.
Barnes & Nobles' vice president of marketing, Bob Wietrack, predicted the memoir will be the chain's No. 1 nonfiction book of the year. Simon & Schuster, which agreed to pay Clinton $8 million, printed an astounding 1 million copies.
Richard Paice, a 36-year-old lawyer, decided on the spur of the moment to join the book signing line at 8:50 a.m.
"If you think about it, it's a historic moment. "She's one of the smartest people in modern political history."
He said he had no interest in reading the senator's reaction to the White House infidelities of her husband, President Bill Clinton. "It's difficult to get good people in public service. Why castigate them," Paice said.
In the book, Clinton revisits the public and private wreckage from her husband's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. She concludes that what her husband did was morally wrong but not a betrayal of the public.
In an interview Monday morning on NBC's "Today," Clinton said in response to a question about her husband's dalliance: "I have always believed ... that public officials should be judged on their public actions and that's how a voter should make a decision."
Barbara Walters interviewed the senator for a Sunday segment on ABC, in which Clinton said her marriage has "been tried and tested and we are at the point now that we're looking forward ... I hope that we'll grow old together."
Time magazine is running excerpts from the book and an interview with Clinton. In the interview, she is asked if she plans to run for president in 2008, and answers: "I have no intention of running for president."
A new ABC poll found that 53 percent of Americans don't want the former first lady to ever run for president. The same poll found Americans are still highly divided about her, with 44 percent expressing a favorable opinion and 48 percent viewing her unfavorably.
After Monday's event, Clinton will have two other signings during the week in Washington.
During the summer, she will sandwich more book-signing visits in between her Senate work schedule. Simon & Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer said the company is not releasing the tour itinerary for logistical and security reasons.