Hillary: I’m the people’s champion

Published: Monday 13th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Hillary Clinton leapt back into presidential politics, making a much-awaited announcement that she will again run for the White House in 2016, promising to serve as the “champion” of everyday Americans in a country with growing income inequality.

Unlike eight years ago, when she ran and lost to Barack Obama, Mrs Clinton and her personal history were not the focus of the first message of her campaign. She made no mention of her time in the Senate and her four years as secretary of state, or her potential to make history as the nation’s first female president.

Instead, the video is a collection of voters talking about their lives, their plans and aspirations for the future.

“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,” Mrs Clinton said.

Her video and new website are scant on policy specifics but the message made an immediate play to win the support of liberal Democrats for whom economic inequality has become a defining issue.

Mrs Clinton, 67, now plans to head to the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, looking to connect with voters. She hopes to avoid the same stumbles in 2008, when she entered the race as a heavy favourite only to be upset by Mr Obama in Iowa.

Her campaign said she would not hold her first rally and deliver a kick-off speech until May. She will tour a community college in Iowa tomorrow and visit a produce distribution company on Wednesday.

Mrs Clinton brings a long public record to her second bid for the White House, a history that will both help and hurt her candidacy. Republicans were already pushing a message that seeks to attach her to the scandalous upheavals of her husband Bill Clinton’s two-term presidency in the 1990s.

Understanding that, her staff has said she intends to cast herself as a “tenacious fighter” determined to halt the growing power of an increasingly right-wing Republican Party that has sought to block Mr Obama’s agenda and now controls both chambers of Congress.

Mr Obama said on Saturday that Mrs Clinton “would be an excellent president”. As his secretary of state, she used her four years as America’s top diplomat in an attempt to rebuild US relations with countries around the world that had become critical of the American war in Iraq.

She enters the race with polls showing her in a strong position to succeed Mr Obama. However, in the last half-century, the same political party has held the White House for three consecutive terms only once, during the administrations of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior.

Republicans will try to counter Mrs Clinton’s strong resume by casting her as someone who is not trustworthy. They have jumped on her use of a personal rather than a government email account and a server located in her home while she was secretary of state. They have also raised questions about donations from foreign governments to the Clinton family’s foundation.

Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus said Mrs Clinton’s election would be tantamount to giving Mr Obama a “third term”.

Some Republicans sought to make foreign policy an issue at a time when the Obama administration is negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran and moving to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

“We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies,” said former Florida governor Jeb Bush in his own online video.

Mr Bush, the brother and son of former presidents, is widely expected to join the race for the Republican nomination.

Mrs Clinton appears unlikely to face a formidable Democratic opponent in the primary elections. Should she win the nomination, she would face the winner of a crowded Republican primary field that could feature as many as two dozen candidates.

Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a favourite among libertarians, and Texas senator Ted Cruz, a champion of the ultra-conservative tea party movement, have already entered the Republican race. Cuban-American senator Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce his bid to be the first Hispanic president.

The 2016 campaign is likely to be the most expensive in history, with total spending on both sides expected to well exceed the more than one billion dollars spent by each of the two nominees’ campaigns four years ago.

Published: Monday 13th April 2015 by The News Editor

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