Hillary Clinton finally announced her White House candidacy Sunday, a move that empowers her to parry Republican attacks as she seeks to become the United States’ first female president.
Seven years after her bitter nomination defeat to Barack Obama, the former secretary of state and first lady jumps into the race as the Democratic Party’s overwhelming favorite, as Clinton and her rivals gird for a bruising 18-month campaign.
I’m running for president,” a beaming Clinton said in a video on her campaign website that went live at about 3:00 pm (1900 GMT) Sunday. “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion, so you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead, and stay ahead,” she said, after a two-minute clip featuring middle-class and working-class couples and families sharing their aspirations. Her nascent campaign emailed supporters saying Clinton will spend “the next six to eight weeks in a ‘ramp up’ period,” building a grass-roots organisation and “engaging directly with voters. “Her first rally and the speech that kicks off her campaign will not take place until May, her team said. Clinton will first head to Iowa, the state that holds the debut vote early next year to determine the parties’ nominees. “I’m hitting the trail to earn your vote,” she said.
The announcement, which meets no substantial challenge from other Democrats, will no doubt trigger a donor deluge from supporters who have long waited for her to officially enter the race, a move that would allow them to contribute directly to her 2016 election effort. But it also brought an immediate wave of Republican opposition, including from the Republican National Committee, which said Clinton “has left a trail of secrecy, scandal, and failed policies that can’t be erased from voters’ minds.“ “Our next president must represent a higher standard, and that is not Hillary Clinton,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “We must do better than Hillary,” tweeted former Florida governor Jeb Bush, just one minute after Clinton posted her own announcement to her 3.2 million Twitter followers, in a likely foreshadowing of the intense back-and-forth expected to play out on social media in the run up to the November 2016 election.