Hillary Clinton’s likely opponents began piling on immediately after she announced the launch of her 2016 presidential campaign on Sunday afternoon.
Several of Clinton’s top rivals quickly fired off statements responding to her official entry into the race.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who launched his White House bid last week, unveiled an ad Sunday morning that focused on Clinton. The commercial begins with footage showing headlines about the controversies over Clinton’s family foundation, her use of private email for official business while she was secretary of state, and foreign tensions that erupted during her time at the State Department.
“Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the Washington machine. The arrogance of power, corruption and coverup, conflicts of interest, and failed leadership with tragic consequences,” the narrator says, later adding, “It’s time for a new leader and new way, Rand Paul.”
The commercial concludes with footage of Paul and details about his policies. In a press release, his team said it “will air on cable television in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada” starting Monday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus echoed similar themes in a statement sent out shortly after Clinton’s announcement.
“Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton. Over decades as a Washington insider, Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal, and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds. The Clintons believe they can play by a different set of rules and think they’re above transparency, accountability, and ethics. Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton,” Priebus said. “Clinton’s announcement comes in the shadows of looming investigations over deletion of State Department records and suspicious foreign donations. For weeks Clinton has stonewalled the American public on unanswered questions around these many scandals. As an official candidate, Clinton must come clean with the American people.”
Priebus concluded by suggesting the Democratic primary, where Clinton is well ahead of her likely rivals in terms of both polling and name recognition, will be a “coronation.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who is considering entering the race, reacted to Clinton’s announcement with an email to supporters of his PAC, Right to Rise. Bush encouraged them to donate $US5 to “stop” Clinton.
“Moments ago Hillary Clinton officially announced her White House bid – and it’s up to us to stop her,” Bush wrote. “I’m going to be straightforward with you, this isn’t going to be easy. Hillary plans to raise $US1.7 billion to win the White House and she already has 135,000 donors at the ready.”
Bush predicted a Clinton presidency would exacerbate the “damage” caused by two terms of President Barack Obama.
“8 years of Democrat control has already done untold damage, 4 more years of Clinton control will only make it worse,” he wrote.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who kicked off his presidential campaign last month, said a potential Clinton victory would mean a “third Obama term” in a lengthy press release sent out following her announcement.
“Hillary Clinton just announced what we’ve known for a long time — she’s running for president, again. But the good news is that we’re ready for Hillary — we know exactly what to expect,” Cruz said. “Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past and there’s going to be a very clear choice to make in 2016. Does America want a third Obama term or are we ready for strong conservative leadership to make America great again?”
Cruz focused much of his criticism on Clinton’s time serving as secretary of state under Obama.
“Her announcement raises a critical question: Is the world a safer place because Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State? The answer is obvious. No. The Obama-Clinton national security policies have made the world more dangerous for America and for our allies,” Cruz said, adding, “She designed and implemented ‘leading from behind.’ On her watch we have witnessed the rise of Russia, Iran, and ISIS. Radical Islamic terrorists are on the march. Here at home, the Obama-Clinton economic policies have made life harder and harder for millions of hard-working Americans.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who is also considering entering the race, sent a fundraising email to supporter criticising Clinton as “part of the Washington problem.” He also accused her of attempting to disingenuously rebrand herself after her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign.
“Hillary Clinton has finally made it official … she will seek the Democrat nomination for President of the United States. Technically she just announced today, but in reality she has been running for nearly a decade,” Walker wrote. “Despite a meticulously crafted new persona, perpetual candidate Hillary Clinton represents all of the failed policies that Washington has been churning out for too long.”
Walker also sent a trio of tweets about Clinton’s announcement wherein he called her “the architect of the failed foreign policy we’re seeing executed by President Obama today” and said she has “the same Washington-knows-best mentality people around the country are looking to move beyond.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who has his own 2016 announcement scheduled for Monday does not seem to have weighed in on Clinton. His campaign did not immediately respond to an email from Business Insider asking if they had a response to her launch.
Republicans weren’t the only ones to react to Clinton’s announcement. Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), issued a statement stressing that he is considering entering the race and believes Democrats need “a robust issues debate.”
“Governor O’Malley is seriously considering running for President, and he will make his decision regardless of what other people decide to do. All across the nation, he’s heard from Democrats that they are looking for someone who offers strong progressive values, new leadership, and the experience of getting real results,” Smith said. “The Democratic Party will benefit from a robust issues debate, and — should Governor O’Malley decide to enter the race — he will bring one.”
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