Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially launched her long expected presidential campaign on Sunday.
“I’m running for president,” Clinton says in a video posted on her new campaign website. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote.”
Along with the video, her team sent a memo to the press explaining the strategy for the first few weeks of her campaign, which will be a “ramp up” phase. The memo also made clear they want to avoid the impression of an entitled juggernaut and instead have a “grassroots” effort that is “about voters, not her.”
Her announcement message, which was titled “Getting Started,” also hinted that her campaign will be based on populist economic themes.
“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion,” she said.
The video began with footage of people of various backgrounds preparing to make major changes in their lives including having a child, moving, looking for a job, and opening a business.
“It’s spring, so we’re starting to get the gardens ready and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighbourhood. My daughter’s about to start kindergarten next year, and so we’re moving just so that she can belong to a better school,” one woman says to open the video.
The stories presented in the clip touch on several issues that will be part of Clinton’s policy agenda. A Spanish-speaking man says he’s starting his first business with his brother. A mother says she’s going back to work after raising her children. A family says they’re expecting a child. A young woman says she’s trying to find a job. A same-sex couple says they’re excited to get married. And another person says she’s getting ready to retire.
Clinton appeared after these vignettes and before announcing her intention to run. “I’m getting ready to do something too,” she announces.
Watch the video below.
Clinton’s announcement was first revealed by an email her expected campaign chair, John Podesta, reportedly sent to donors and other supporters.
“I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,” Podesta wrote. “She is hitting the road to Iowa to talk directly with voters.”
After the video was released, Clinton’s team sent an email to the press describing some of the strategy behind the video. The email described the clip as featuring “middle class families talking about their lives and planning for what’s ahead.”
Clinton, also a former US senator and first lady, begins the race as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016, according to polls and other indicators of support. However, Clinton appears interested in countering the perception that she feels entitled to the White House and her team emphasised it will be a “grassroots” effort that is “about voters, not her.”
“Hillary Clinton pledged to be a champion for everyday Americans and their families when she announced her plan to run a grassroots campaign for President of the United States today,” the campaign’s email said. “Hillary believes this campaign is about voters, not her, and urged people to get involved in her campaign saying, “It’s your time.”
The email said Clinton will spend the next few weeks in a “ramp up” phase of her campaign.
“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 organisation, and she will spend her time engaging directly with voters,” the email said, adding, “In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organised for house parties or to watch over live-streams, Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.”
Other potential Democratic candidates include Vice President Joe Biden, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D), and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia).
Two major Republicans, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), have already announced their 2016 White House bids. Another Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), is expected to kickoff his campaign on Monday.
This post was last updated at 3:52 p.m.
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