Presidential races

Hillary: ‘I’m running for president’

Hillary Clinton campaign video

Hillary Clinton will make a second bid for the White House, she announced Sunday in a video posted to her new campaign website.

“I’m running for president,” the Democrat says in the video, adding that “everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion.”

The two-minute video, posted shortly after 3 p.m., begins with footage of people talking about the challenges they face before cutting to the former secretary of State. Among those featured are a young job-seeker, a new mother, a same-sex couple and a retiree. Clinton makes her first appearance at the 1:33 mark.

The Clinton rollout will be slow. According to a press release from her campaign, “just like the families in her video who are getting ready for fresh starts, Hillary is preparing her campaign organization. She’s committed to spending the next 6 to 8 weeks in a ‘ramp up’ period where her team will start to build a nation-wide grassroots organization, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters.”

Her next stop will be Iowa, according to a tweet from her official account. In May, once supporters in all 50 states have been organized, she’ll hold her first rally and deliver a speech to launch her candidacy. 

Her top aides began telling donors and supporters on Sunday afternoon that she was entering the race, galvanizing their support for the 2016 task. 

{mosads}Confirmation came when a mass email sent by campaign chairman John Podesta to 2008 campaign veterans leaked on Twitter. “It’s official: Hillary’s running for president,” the email said.

When Clinton first sought the presidency eight years ago, her most memorable words were “I’m running for president, and I’m in it to win it,” a phrasing that critics viewed as reflecting a broader sense of entitlement.

This time around, Clinton stressed the people on whose behalf she claims to be fighting. “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote because it’s your time,” she said.

She also alluded to the issue of inequality, asserting that “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.”

Podesta said that Clinton’s announcement video reflected the tone her campaign would strive for on the trail during a conference call Sunday evening.

“This campaign will be about everyday Americans and not her,” he said. “She wants to make sure everyday Americans get ahead and stay ahead.”

Podesta added that the clip was meant to convey the campaign’s focus on diversity, family, prosperity and hard work.

Campaign manager Robby Mook said that Clinton’s operatives would first head to Iowa and directly court voters there. He said her focus on small events would foster a sense of intimacy between Americans and Clinton.

“We are going to fight for every single vote in this campaign,” Mook said.

“That will be the focus of absolutely everything we do,” he added.

Clinton will travel to small towns in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday, her campaign said, where she will talk to “everyday Americans” including students, educators and small-business owners.

Clinton is this time expected to embrace the possibility of becoming the first female U.S. president. She and her aides were reluctant to focus on that fact in the early stages of her 2008 campaign, though Clinton did allude to it when she eventually dropped out in June of that year.

The former New York senator still carries the scars from her loss to President Obama, but she has considerable advantages now.

In particular, none of the people who seems most likely to challenge her for the Democratic nomination — former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) or independent left-wing Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) — exhibits the strengths Obama did.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), widely perceived as the most serious potential Democratic rival to Clinton, has so far maintained that she is not running. Vice President Biden’s intentions are unclear.

Clinton is virtually assured of raising a huge amount of money very quickly, which might in itself further discourage other Democrats from entering the race.

One important question for the nascent campaign is how closely it links the former secretary of State to the current president and his policies. At a news conference on Saturday, Obama told reporters, “I think she would be an excellent president.”

Clinton’s campaign will have some obvious points of resistance, too. She has provoked fervent conservative opposition dating back to her time as first lady. The enmity will intensify now.

Shortly before her announcement, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) presidential campaign announced it would begin airing a cable television ad that accused Clinton of representing “the worst of the Washington machine.”

The characterization of Clinton in popular culture also often holds her to be inauthentic and ruthless.

This was emphasized one more time on the evening before her announcement, when NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” began with Kate McKinnon playing Clinton.

“Citizens! You will elect me! I will be your leader!” the parody version of Clinton said fiercely.

Mark Hensch contributed to this report, which was updated at 5:36 p.m. 

Tags Hillary Clinton

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