Hillary Clinton had wanted it to be low key: a small community college in rural Iowa was certainly that.
Curious locals and the smell of farm animals were as far away as you could get from the razzmatazz of her Republican rivals’ launches.
Her first scheduled appearance at a media event was in a car-repair classroom, flanked by engines, students and teachers.
She said she had come to listen to what young Americans wanted for their future – at the same time she is undoubtedly selling the pitch for her own.
It is fascinating to watch a figure who has been so removed for so long from interactions the rest of us have every day now trying to build ‘ordinary-joe’ connections.
We heard again that America needs a champion and that she can be it.
A joke about reverse-the-charges calls home while at college brought a laugh from the older members of the audience.
Earlier she had made a stop at a coffee shop on the Mississippi River – not on the official schedule – surprising locals and chatting to the mayor.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” said customer Becky Smolenski, who stumbled on the candidate in the Jones Street Java House.
“People are ready for a woman and that’s very much something she can do.”
In the months to come, we can expect to see a lot of sitting around a table, a steaming cup in front of her, chatting, nodding and listening.
Iowa is key as the first state to pick its candidate, a place where they like ‘retail politics’ and where it all started to go wrong for her the last time she ran.
But she seems to have made a good impression in these Iowa early days. Tougher battles lie ahead in the next 18 months.
Outside her event, anti-Hillary protestors arrived with signs highlighting her support for the Iraq war and close relationships with Wall Street.
But they gave the game away by not completely scrubbing out “We stand with Rand” on the other side.
Republican activists handed out flyers on behalf of a ‘Nerd Squad’ who want to reclaim her lost emails.
“We’ll fix Hillary Clinton’s server for free,” they say.
A woman afforded such Secret Service protection is never really going to be able to make impromptu stops along the way.
And her motorcade with dark windows, flashing past welcoming crowds, is an unfortunate campaign by-product.
She will be low key to the point of invisible for most Americans – they’ll make sure we see her when she wants us to.