August 3, 2021

Wealthy Hillary Clinton finally enters formal race to be president

'Everyday Americans need a champion': Wealthy Hillary Clinton finally enters formal race to be president with video telling middle class...‘Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,’ says the multimillionaire politician in a launch video

  • Her chief of staff stepped on her big moment with an email to donors saying, ‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me’
  • Clinton’s press office left an embarrassing typo in its press announcement, saying that she had ‘fought children and families all her career’ 
  • Republican Party fires its opening salvo: ‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton’
  • Hillary will start her ‘listening tour’ in Iowa and New Hampshire without huge fanfare, and then have a more formal launch event in May
  • Wunderkind campaign manager, 35, was a child when she was first lady and didn’t live through her defining White House scandals

| Updated: 15:33 EST, 12 April 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president, leaning on a message of middle-class rescue and claims that America’s economy is ‘still stacked in favor of those at the top,’ according to a campaign video that went online Sunday afternoon.

‘I’m getting ready to do something,’ Clinton says in the brief ad, following a series of clips of ordinary-looking Americans describing what they’re ‘getting ready’ for.

‘I’m running for president,’ she says.

‘Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.’

That message is a daring one, given Clinton’s wealth. When she left the U.S. State Department in 2013, her financial disclosure report showed that her combined net worth with her husband was between $5.2 and $25.5 million. Millions more rolled in when she published her memoirs.

She famously claimed last year that she and former president Bill Clinton were ‘dead broke’ when they left the White House in 2001 – when they moved into a palatial home in a tree-lined New York City suburb.

Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta pushed a similar ‘middle-class’ message, but stepped on her announcement with his own email to a group of donors.

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HILLARY'S TURN: Mrs. Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America's first female commander-in-chief if things go her way
HILLARY’S TURN: Mrs. Clinton is launching a second bid for president and would become America’s

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SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary's big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House
SOFT LAUNCH: Hillary Clinton chief of staff John Podesta pre-empted Hillary’s big moment with an email to donors saying that the former first lady was running for the White House

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SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back
SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM? Hillary crashed and burned in 2008 when Barack Obama, a little-known senator, streaked past her in Iowa and never looked back

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‘I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it’s official: Hillary’s running for president,’ Podesta wrote.

He said the former secretary of state ‘is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month.’

‘We need to make the middle class mean something again,’ Podesta’s email closed. ‘We can do this.’

Podesta leads the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. He was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama until February.

Clinton, too, is part of the upper-crust of America’s wealth pool, earning millions since she eft public office.

The campaign’s internal schedule had called for a 12:00 p.m. tweet linked to a video, revealing the worst-kept secret in America to more than 3 million online followers.

Clinton is entering the 2016 race without a splashy announcement of the kind that Republicans are staging for cheering throngs this month. She will also be able to skirt the kind of uncomfortable media questions that tend to dog anyone named Clinton.

There will be no press conferences, no grand speeches until at least early May, and few interviews.

Hillary for America, the official campaign organization, said in a statement that Clinton is ‘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.’

‘In May, once her supporters in all 50 states are organized for house parties or to watch over live-streams,’ the statement said, ‘Hillary will hold her first rally and deliver the speech to kick off her campaign.

In a sign of her campaign’s fundraising trajectory – her insiders are said to be eyeing a staggering $2.5 billion war chest – a political action committee called HillaryPAC had its first solicitation email out 18 minutes before the campaign’s own press release.

That announcement to reporters, perhaps finished in haste, included an embarrassing mistake in the omission of a key word.

Hillary, it said, has ‘fought children and families all her career.’

Clinton, the presumptive Democratic favorite, has a storied and rocky relationship with the press, one that sometimes brings out snippiness, mistrust and a temper that her handlers are loath to provoke.

But ‘Hillary’ sports a one-name celebrity ID, like Madonna or Beyonce; she doesn’t need the TV time to build name-recognition.

‘I’m running for President’: Hillary Clinton enters 2016 race
BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton's time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya
BAGGAGE: Mrs. Clinton’s time in the Obama administration may be her albatross, including her stewardship of the State Department before, during and after the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya

Republicans were quick on the trigger with their opening salvos.

‘Americans need a president they can trust and voters do not trust Hillary Clinton,’ Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

‘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,’ Priebus said. ‘Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton.’

Ted Cruz, the fire-breathing Texas GOP senator who was the first major party candidate to join the race, blasted her in a Web video of his own.

‘Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past,’ he said in the brief online ad, referring dismissively to the ‘Obama-Clinton foreign policy.’

‘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?’

And former Silicon Valley CEO Carly Fiorina, who is making a case that she, not Clinton, should be America’s first female president, said in a Facebook video that the former secretary of state ‘does not have a track record of accomplishment or transparency.’

‘Russia is now a more powerful adversary than it was when she became secretary of state,’ Fiorina said. ‘Our relationship with Israel has deteriorated dramatically. The Middle East is in flames.’

‘She’s not the woman for the White House,’ she charged.

SHE'S IN: Clinton tweeted her news Sunday afternoon nearly two and a half hours later than scheduled
SHE’S IN: Clinton tweeted her news Sunday afternoon nearly two and a half hours later than scheduled
The new Hope and Change: Hillary's campaign logo suggests forward motion
The new Hope and Change: Hillary’s campaign logo suggests forward motion

With initial campaign swings in Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton will try to claim a mantle that has eluded her for the last 15 years: empathizer-in-chief.

Her campaign handlers are planning small-scale ‘listening tour’ stops like those that opened up her successful 2000 Senate campaign in New York, a state where she had never lived before she campaigned there.

New Yorkers didn’t know much about her, aside from her stand-by-your-man turn following her husband’s infidelities and her trademark ‘Hillarycare’ push – a failed proposal for a nationwide medical overhaul whose mandates, fines and tax-code changes make today’s Obamacare program look modest.

She fixed that by nodding, smiling, listening and scribbling in notebooks that Democrats say were inspirations for her later policy preferences.

Iowans know her just as sparsely today: She has been to the state just once since her 2008 presidential campaign crashed and burned, despite a massive campaign war chest, touched off when a first-term Illinois senator named Obama lit the fuse.

As a result, there are few evangelists awaiting her second coming.

LOYAL OPPOSITION: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made their own online videos to push Republican messages and gut-punch Hillary Clinton
LOYAL OPPOSITION: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (left) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (right) made their own online videos to push Republican messages and gut-punch Hillary Clinton
LOYAL OPPOSITION: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made their own online videos to push Republican messages and gut-punch Hillary Clinton
LOYAL OPPOSITION: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (left) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (right) made their own online videos to push Republican messages and gut-punch Hillary Clinton
The Clinton’s are back: SNL parody ahead of campaign launch

For now they’ll be watching her lug around ‘dynasty’ baggage, making the case that a second Clinton presidency wouldn’t make for a royal line of succession.

She’ll face tough questions about a private email account on a home-brew server that she exclusively used while she was secretary of state – an arrangement that provided her with an opportunity to hide tens of thousands of messages from government archivists.

She has acknowledged deleting them, claiming they were all ‘personal’ in nature.

There was that unconventional ‘reset button’ prop she gifted to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in March 2009 as a sign of a diplomatic clean slate – only the Russian was mistranslated, and read ‘overcharged.’

Then there are her more substantial ties with the Obama administration’s increasingly unpopular foreign policy, and her proximity to institutional failures like the deadly 2012 terror attacks on one of her State Department outposts in Benghazi, Libya.

‘I think she would continue the policies of this president. … she empowered a failed foreign policy,’ South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday on CNN.

‘If she can make a case that she’s different from him, she has a chance. If she can’t, then “game, set, match”.’

Graham is himself a likely entrant in the Republican nomination sweepstakes.

Speaking of the GOP’s deep bench, Graham said that ‘the reason there’s 20 Republicans running is because all of them think they can beat her.’

GOOD OL' DAYS: Hillary was a future first lady in 1992 aboard a campaign bus with her president Bill (left), future VP Al Gore (right) and his wife Tipper (2nd right)
GOOD OL’ DAYS: Hillary was a future first lady in 1992 aboard a campaign bus with her president Bill (left), future VP Al Gore (right) and his wife Tipper (2nd right)
SCRUM: Hillary met the press at the United Nations on March 10 amid a brewing scandal surrounding a personal email account she exclusively used while she was secretary of state
SCRUM: Hillary met the press at the United Nations on March 10 amid a brewing scandal surrounding a personal email account she exclusively used while she was secretary of state

He challenged reporters to vet Mrs. Clinton more thoroughly than they did the current president.

NOT READY? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio managed Hillary Clinton's US Senate campaign in 2000, but he isn't endorsing her yet
NOT READY? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio managed Hillary Clinton’s US Senate campaign in 2000, but he isn’t endorsing her yet

But getting answers to tough questions out of her, he warned, ‘is like nailing Jell-o to the wall.’

Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention on Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee, Cruz lumped her in with the president when he boomed his disapproval of the ‘Obama-Clinton foreign policy’ of ‘leading from behind.’

He also joked to a crowd of 4,000 that Clinton’s campaign should make its first new hire a director of email security.

That honor, though, went to 35-year-old Robby Mook, the unlikely campaign manager who will steer Clinton’s ship through 18 months of shark-infested waters.

Mook is a grassroots organizing wunderkind, not a fundraiser or a messaging guru. His focus will be on collecting names and email addresses, and recruiting precinct captains.

He’ll do it with a single-mindedness that’s unencumbered with memories of Vince Foster, cattle futures or Rose Law Firm billing records. The Hillary Clinton of more than a generation ago isn’t part of his vocabulary.

Mook was born when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, 14 years old when he moved to the White House, and well short of legal drinking are when Hillary left the White House’s East Wing for her Senate campaign.

'RESET'? No – the sticker on the button read 'overcharged' in Russian when Clinton tried to woo the Russians with a promise of a new relationship in 2009
‘RESET’? No – the sticker on the button read ‘overcharged’ in Russian when Clinton tried to woo the Russians with a promise of a new relationship in 2009
Time lapse shows Hillary Clinton aging from teenager to 67

Hillary lacks the ‘cool’ factor of her husband Bill, who played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show and famously told an MTV audience about his underwear preferences.

The former president pitched himself in 1991 and 1992 as a ‘New Democrat’ — neither too far right nor too far left. But at age 69, Hilary is seen as an old Democrat.

She would be the second-oldest U.S. president if she were to win it all.

The cool Democrat this time around is Martin O’Malley. The former Maryland governor’s visits to Iowa are punctuated by appearances fronting a saloon band in dusty suburbs – guitar pick in one hand, campaign literature in the other.

And he’s not sounding like a vice-presidential wannabee, or like a one-time Baltimore mayor whose political train stopped at the state capitol.

‘I kind of like big odds and tough fights,’ he said Thursday in Indianola, a college town south of solicitionDes Moines.

‘History,’ O’Malley mused, ‘is full of examples of inevitable frontrunners being inevitable frontrunners – right up until they’re not.’

On the surface, he appears ill-prepared to dethrone Clinton. His fundraising machine is less sophisticated, has a thinner Rolodex and will post smaller numbers.

His political epitaph, were he to ride into the sunset today, would be his hand-picked successor’s stunning loss in November 2014. To a Republican. In deep-blue Maryland.

His mother is a longtime secretary to retiring Maryland Democrati Senator Barbara Mikulski.

But the senator is endorsing Clinton.

‘Whoopee! Hillary is off and running!’ Mikulski said in a statement on Sunday.

‘I’m ready for Hillary. And America is ready for Hillary.’

While Clinton’s coat-tails would be long in November 2016, bringing committed liberals to the polls where they would vote for other Democrats, O’Malley’s current draw east of Maryland is microscopic.

Still, young people tend to vote for young people, especially those who line up best with their own lifestyles and ambitions.

More students at Drake University and Iowa State worship at the feet of rock stars than wow at the exploits of politicians whose glory days were before they were born.

Clinton fared poorly eight years ago in Iowa college towns like Ames and Indianola. This time no one will be surprised if she turns in even worse numbers there.

She could also face a stiff test from Webb, a staid military veteran and Pentagon hawk who would have instant credibility on Middle-East military options that could trump her diplomatic experience.

Iowa voters won’t do their caucusing until next year, and meanwhile they need to be cajoled, coddled, pursued and hugged.

There is no coronation-in-waiting, only a grueling 99-county marathon that Clinton can only win if she convinces the state’s Democrats that she’ll run all 26.2 miles.

Only her closest advisers know what territory she will carve out on big-ticket issues.

She staked few ideological claims during her brief stay in the U.S. Senate and distinguished herself as secretary of state mainly in parts of the world that are now under siege or politically on fire.

Clinton’s ties to the Obama administration will not likely help her, from her now-infamous secretive email practices to her participation in the mop-up after the Benghazi disaster.

But Obama, long suspected of holding grudges from two elections ago, spoke well of her on Saturday at a press conference during the Summit of the Americas.

‘She was a formidable candidate in 2008, he told reporters. ‘She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend.’

‘I think she would be an excellent president,’ he said.

But moments later he, like Cruz, lashed her to the deck of the risks he has taken overseas – with controversies in Cuba and Iran percolating, and weakness abroad both in Russia and Yemen.

‘She was focused and working on really important foreign policy initiatives,’ Obama said. ‘And the one thing I can say is that she’s going to be able to handle herself very well in any conversations or debates around foreign policy.’

That’s catnip for conservatives, who can’t wait to sink their teeth into her state department tenure.

Clinton’s planned star turn at next year’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is by no means locked up.

Besides O’Malley and Webb, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee began chomping at the bit this week by establishing a presidential exploratory committee, the first step toward becoming a candidate.

A former Republican himself, Chaffee could make a far better claim than Hillary to the ‘new Democrat’ label.

And Elizabeth Warren, the populist senator from Massachusetts, waits in the wings. She says she’s not running, but Americans – and Iowans in particular – have heard that tune enough over the years to know the words by heart.

Democracy for America, the group behind an effort trying to draft her into the race, is praising Hillary but not endorsing her.

‘Secretary Clinton has earned the respect of Democracy for America members because of her deep commitment to the rights of women and children, two groups impacted immensely by income inequality,’ the group’s executive director, Charles Chamberlain,said in a statement.

‘We also know that a vigorous competition for the best ideas, the best people, and the best campaign practices will leave our party, our eventual nominee, and our country stronger, which is why we continue to urge Senator Elizabeth Warren to enter the 2016 race for president.’

Even if Hillary should overcome her intra-party squabbles, she would face a Republican who emerged from a crowded field and could be just as well-funded.

She already has problems in Iowa, with newly minted candidate Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, beating her there in hypothetical head-to-head polls.

And in order to squash an O’Malley or Warren insurgency, Clinton may have to move far enough to the political left to give the GOP more ammunition two autumns from now.

However Hillary’s first weeks as a candidate go, however, Americans already got a view of her on Saturday Night Live in the person of comic actress Kate McKinnon.

‘Citizens, you will elect me!’ a wide-eyed and presumptuous McKinnon said in the sketch that opened Saturday night’s show.

‘I will be your leader.’

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