Hillary Clinton ready to start presidential campaign – USA TODAY
Hillary Clinton is poised to formally launch her second presidential bid today, with a different approach from 2008 aimed at convincing voters through small-group settings that she has ideas for helping the middle class and the skills to govern.
The long-awaited announcement is expected to come from a video shared via social media, according to the Associated Press, before Clinton makes her pitch in Iowa and New Hampshire living rooms.
Her declaration will end deafening speculation and two years of less-than-subtle preparation: giving speeches, promoting the causes of the Clinton family’s charitable foundation, and assembling a staff for the 2016 race.
Clinton gave a glimpse of what drives her to reach for history as the first woman elected president of the United States, in the new epilogue she wrote for the paperback edition of Hard Choices, her memoir about her tenure at the State Department.
“Becoming a grandmother has made me think deeply about the responsibility we all share as stewards of the world we inherit and will one day pass on,” Clinton wrote. “I’m more convinced than ever that our future in the 21st century depends on our ability to ensure that a child born in the hills of Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta or the Rio Grande Valley grows up with the same shot at success that Charlotte (her granddaughter) will.”
Clinton enters the campaign as the overwhelming favorite to capture the Democratic nomination with a significant lead over all her potential rivals in polls. Her credentials are deep, from her service as secretary of State in President Obama’s first term to eight years as a U.S. senator representing New York.
Yet concerns about dynasties in politics and whether Clinton’s nomination is a pre-ordained conclusion will follow her. Potential rivals such as Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, have knocked the idea of whether Clinton’s nomination is inevitable.
“The public is concerned about this,” said John Hudak, a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “The best way for her to get past it is to run as a prospective Democratic nominee like she’s in a field with 10 other candidates. … She wants to be an ideas candidate and not just someone who has the resume for the job.”
Those close to Clinton say she will run a different campaign than in 2008, when she won 17.5 million votes in the Democratic primary against then-senator Barack Obama. That campaign reminded voters of both Clintons at their best — the ability to inspire female voters — and worst — Bill Clinton’s unbridled comments that belittled then-senator Barack Obama.
“You have to be talking about the issues where people live and where there experiences are,” said Bonnie Campbell, co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Iowa campaign. ” I’m very certain that Hillary understands we just got trounced in an election because we didn’t have a message that people didn’t understand or we just didn’t get out.”
Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant who worked in the Clinton White House, said Clinton needs to go small but be authentic.
“This election is where you have to win by giving voters a big idea and an idea that is true to you,” he said. “If you come out with an idea that’s looking toward the future and talk about the middle class and the challenges we face and you have a theory of how to address that … you transcend the issues that percolate out there in the pre-campaign phase.”
Now 67, Clinton has been on the national stage, and sparking controversy, since the 1992 presidential campaign, when Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, joked about voters getting “two for the price of one” if he were elected. To some voters, she was a refreshing role model for working women; to others, she seemed abrasive and elitist.
During her two terms as first lady, Clinton broke new ground by becoming involved in policy. She chaired a health care task force that tried, and failed, to pass legislation guaranteeing universal health care. She was more successful at drawing attention to women’s status: in a speech in Beijing in 1995, she declared that “women’s rights are human rights.”
Controversy erupted even before Clinton formally launched her campaign when it was revealed in March that she had used only her personal e-mail rather than a government account during her four years as secretary of State, and that e-mails had been housed on a private server set up in the Clinton home.
Clinton said her personal email use was allowed by State Department policy at the time and that in 2014 she turned over just under half of her emails to the government as work-related. She deleted the remainder as personal, she said. None of the emails contained classified information, the State Department says.
In advance of Clinton’s formal announcement, the Republican National Committee launched a six-figure online ad campaign as part of its “stop Hillary” effort.
“Hillary Clinton is actually a pretty good person for us to run against and if you were me, you would want no one else to run against than Hillary Clinton,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Saturday on Fox News. “She unifies the party. She allows us to raise a lot of money and recruit a lot of volunteers.”
Jump into the political way-back machine to see three decades of presidential hopefuls announce their big plans.