MUSCATINE, IOWA-- There's a new presence on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton and she is a bartender, named "Val."
Clinton has made six campaign stops in two days in two states since she portrayed Val on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend and, at every single stop, her performance or Val's name has been mentioned. If not by Clinton herself, Iowans and Granite Staters have at times sought to bring the character out of the candidate.
At a town hall in Manchester on Monday, a woman rose from her seat to ask Clinton a question and politely asked if she could call her "Hillary."
"Or you can call me Val," Clinton quipped, without missing a beat.
Later that day, in a question and answer session at a conference on early education, Clinton reflected on the experience of being on the show.
"Hopefully I'll get called back, as they say," she said.
By the time Clinton got to Davenport, Iowa on Tuesday morning, she had worked Val into the opening lines of her stump speech.
"It's good to be back," she said. "I've been trying out different possible careers. You know, I kind of like the bartending idea."
Later at the forum, a man sitting in the front row was selected to ask a question and Clinton held out her own microphone for him. He asked Clinton to reprise her Donald Trump impression.
"Uhhh, you're a loser," Clinton said in a deep, gruff voice to big laughs and applause.
Clinton's last event on Tuesday was an intimate organizing event here in Muscatine, at a picturesque bed and breakfast where the innkeepers are Clinton volunteers. One of the people she called on to ask a question stood up and held out her driver's license.
"I am Val," she said.
Clinton's decision to appear on the show was interpreted as part of her campaign's plan to humanize Clinton, whose standing in the race has been damaged by the controversy surrounding her private email server and her perceived defensiveness over it. Calculated or not, the exchanges over the past two days show a different level of comfort and ease between the candidate and those who come out to see her. They also show how far a short skit can go.
Diane Foor, who drove from Letts, Iowa to Muscatine to see Clinton on Tuesday afternoon, sported a baby blue visor that read "Hillary for President." But she carried a homemade sign on a white piece of paper that carried a different name.
"Val For President," it read, in capital letters.
"I loved it," Letts said of Clinton's performance. "She seems like a natural comedian."
for more features.