Clinton to focus on family security

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Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will focus on boosting economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families, while casting the former US senator and secretary of state as a “tenacious fighter” able to get results.

Two of her senior advisers provided the first preview of the message Mrs Clinton plans to convey when she launches her long-anticipated campaign with an online video.

Until now the former first lady has offered only hints of what would drive her if she were to make a second bid to become America’s first female president.

Mrs Clinton, who lost the 2008 nomination to Barack Obama, will skip a flashy kick-off rally in favour of conversations with voters about the economic needs of middle-class families and the next generation.

She appears unlikely to face a formidable primary opponent, though a handful of lower-profile Democrats such as former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley have said they are considering campaigns.

Should she win the nomination, Mrs Clinton would face the winner of a crowded Republican primary field that could feature as many as two dozen candidates.

Conservative senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have already entered the race, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce his candidacy in Miami tomorrow and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the brother and son of former presidents, is also likely to run.

The strategy described by Mrs Clinton’s advisers has echoes of Mr Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign. He framed the choice for voters as between Democrats focused on the middle class and Republicans wanting to protect the wealthy and return to policies that led to the 2008 economic collapse.

The advisers said Mrs Clinton would argue that voters have a similar choice in 2016. She also intends to sell herself as being able to work with Congress, businesses and world leaders.

That approach could be perceived as a critique of Mr Obama. He has largely been unable to fulfil his pledge to end Washington’s intense partisanship and found much of his presidency thwarted by gridlock within Congress.

The Clinton advisers spoke anonymously in order to discuss her plans ahead of today’s announcement. People familiar with the plans say Mrs Clinton will travel to Iowa and other key states to hold small events with residents in the days after the video’s release.

By campaigning heavily in the early-voting states, which influence the rest of the state-by-state battle for party nominations, she hopes to avoid making the same stumbles she did in 2008, when she entered the race as a US senator and a heavy favourite only to be upset by Mr Obama in Iowa’s lead-off caucuses.

In New York, at the final event put on by Ready for Hillary, a group not connected with her campaign that has worked for the past few years to stoke excitement for it, enthusiastic supporters joined elected officials and local party leaders to celebrate the launch to come.

As her official announcement loomed, the Republican National Committee linked Mrs Clinton to Mr Obama, a regular focus of criticism from Republicans.

“All Hillary Clinton is offering is a continuation of the same big government ideas that have grown Washington instead of the middle class,” RNC spokesman Michael Short said. “That’s why voters want fresh leadership and a new direction, not four more years of Obama’s failed policies.”

Mrs Clinton is not expected to roll out detailed policy positions in the first weeks of her campaign. Advisers said she planned to talk about ways families can increase take-home pay, the importance of expanding early childhood education and making higher education more affordable.

It is not yet clear whether that will include a noticeable break with Mr Obama on economic policy. Republicans have hammered his approach as anti-business and insufficient in the wake of the Great Recession. The White House says the economy has improved significantly in recent years.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in March, but manufacturing and new home building slowed, cheaper fuel has yet to ignite consumer spending and participation in the labour force remains sluggish.

Mr Obama, speaking at a news conference Saturday in Panama City, said he thought Mrs Clinton “would be an excellent president”.

She will enter the race as the overwhelming favorite for her party’s nomination. Still, her team has said her early strategy is designed to avoid appearing to take that nomination for granted.

Husband Bill Clinton, the former two-term president, said recently that he wanted to play a role as a “backstage adviser” in his wife’s campaign.

Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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