After years of often-breathless speculation about her future, Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in politics: She's running for president. The former first lady and secretary of state officially entered the 2016 presidential race with a video announcement to supporters Sunday, saying she wants to be the champion of “everyday Americans."
“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top," Clinton told supporters at the end of a more than two-minute-long video posted on her official campaign website,hillaryclinton.com. “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by."
The video represented a sharp tonal shift from her announcement video in 2008, which featured Clinton addressing voters while sitting on a couch in her Washington, D.C., home. In contrast, Clinton is only seen and heard in roughly the last minute of Sunday's video, which features testimony and footage from families, young workers and gay couples.
While she told voters in 2008 that she was “in to win," Clinton told voters Sunday that she is “hitting the road to earn your vote, because it's your time."
“I hope you'll join me on this journey," Clinton added.
Clinton's announcement will be followed by visits in coming days to key early-voting states, including Iowa.
It's an intentionally low-key kickoff plotted by a campaign seeking to avoid the mistakes of Clinton's failed 2008 quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 2007, the then-New York senator entered the race as the overwhelming favorite but ultimately lost ground to an insurgent candidate named Barack Obama amid the perception of an unwieldy campaign apparatus and her inability to personally connect with voters.
Eight years later, Clinton again enters the race as the overwhelming front-runner — albeit this time with no real challenger, so far. But instead of mounting the same shock-and-awe campaign aimed at scaring away potential opponents, Clinton's strategists are said to be plotting a more humble approach to 2016 in hopes of winning over voters who complained eight years ago that she was inaccessible and distant.
Formal confirmation of her candidacy first came in the form of emails from John Podesta, the presumptive chairman of her 2016 campaign, to donors, 2008 campaign staffers and members of Congress on Sunday. “I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me — it's official: Hillary's running for president," he wrote in one missive. In another, he noted: “There will be a formal kickoff event next month."