Hillary Clinton announced her presidential campaign on Sunday, ending what may have been the longest period of speculation over the plans for a prospective contenders for the White House.
“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” Clinton said in a video released by the campaign.
In contrast to the announcements of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who held large rallies to launched their bids for the GOP nomination, Clinton’s public rollout of her campaign was more understated, via a video released on social media. She will travel to Iowa this week, “engaging directly with voters,” according to her campaign, and hold an official kickoff in mid-May.
“I’m hitting to road to earn your vote, because it’s your time, and I hope you will join me on this journey,” Clinton said in the video posted on her website, now a campaign site for Hillary for America.
The campaign is trying to emphasize that Clinton is not taking anything for granted, and that her focus will be on listening to voters.
The video was a contrast to her campaign launch video in 2007, in which Clinton said, “I’m in, and I’m in to win.” Instead, this video focused on average citizens.
It didn’t even feature Clinton until about a minute and a half in, instead showing a diverse series of largely younger middle class citizens talking with hope about their plans for the coming months. That included a man who was getting ready to marry a same-sex partner. The couple was later identified as Jared Milrad and Nathan Johnson of Chicago. Her campaign logo features an “H” with an arrow through it, directing forward.
Clinton also signaled that her campaign would focus on the middle class, with a populist message to counter early criticism and concern from the left that she will be too beholden to Wall Street.
“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top,” she said in the video.
The initial low-key approach of her campaign rollout certainly was not true of media coverage, which for months has taken a granular look at her potential candidacy and several days ago signaled that an announcement was likely on Sunday. An expected noon ET release of a video came and went. Instead, the announcement came just before 3 p.m. ET, initially via a message from adviser John Podesta to supporters via Twitter.
Given the buildup, “Saturday Night Live” even spoofed Clinton’s announcement, with Kate McKinnon as Hillary struggling to tape an announcement on her cell phone video with her husband Bill (Darrell Hammond) lurking in the background.
Hollywood is expected to play a significant role in what has been billed as an unprecedented fundraising push, with events already in the works for early May. Given their years on the political stage, the Clintons have no shortage of fundraisers to draw upon, with figures like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Haim Saban pledging their support.
Paul already made Clinton the focus of an attack ad, and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), who has all but said he is running, released a video in which he criticized the “Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”
“She’s going to get hit hard 24/7, but she’s going to stand with America’s families,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
That also was reflected in a fundraising email sent out by California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte, who warned of facing the “massive political power of the leftist Hollywood elite.”
“Hillary will be saying ‘Hurray for Hollywood’ after the glittering Tinsel Town limousine liberals pull out their check books for Barack Obama’s ‘inevitable’ successor — she’s waited so long to return to the White House,” Brulte wrote.