Clinton officially launches her campaign for president – Miami Herald

Hillary Clinton officially launched her long-awaited campaign for the White House Sunday, attempting for a second time to become the first female president in the nation’s history and the first to follow her husband into office.

“America has fought their way back from tough economic times,” Clinton said in a video posted online shortly after 3 p.m. “But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.”

In the two-minute video posted on Facebook, a series of diverse Americans talk about changes in their lives _ moving, having children, getting married, finding a job. Clinton, who doesn’t appear on screen until more than one and half minutes into the video, focuses solely on domestic issues.

“Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get back, you can get ahead and stay ahead because when families are strong America is strong,” she said.

Clinton plans to travel this week to Iowa, a critical swing state where she finished a humiliating third in the 2008 caucus, to begin holding a series of smaller, less-scripted events than the traditional large rallies and speeches. She will visit other early nominating states, including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, in the coming weeks. A formal kickoff will take place next month.

“We need to make the middle class mean something again. We can do this,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta wrote in a fundraising email to supporters a few minutes earlier.

In recent weeks, Clinton has quietly recruited staff in some of the early nominating states, who have been working as volunteers, and moved into a campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.

Clinton, 67, is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination by overwhelming margins with some polls showing her as much as 50 points ahead of her potential rivals.

But recent polls show she may be vulnerable against some possible Republican candidates, including former Florida. Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, after her numbers dipped amid ethical questions about her family foundation’s acceptance of foreign donations and her use of a private email account to conduct government business while secretary of state.

The Republican National Committee launched a six-figure paid “Stop Hillary” campaign highlighting a series of scandals it says it already clouding her candidacy with an emphasis on the battleground states of Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado and North Carolina.

“From the East Wing to the State Department, Hillary Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal and failed liberal policies that no image consultant can erase,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “Voters want to elect someone they can trust and Hillary’s record proves that she cannot be trusted. We must ‘Stop Hillary.’

Republicans have continued to paint a possible Clinton presidency as a third term of President Barack Obama, who has seen his approval numbers drop amid continued economic problems and a series of crisis around the globe. Obama and Clinton have remained in touch since she left the State Department in 2013 where she served as Obama’s secretary of state in the first term.

On Saturday, Obama said she would make an “excellent president.”

“She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” Obama said in response to a question at a news conference in Panama. “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.”

Others considering a run for the Democratic nomination are independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Sen. Jim Webb or Virginia and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. Some are lobbying Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to run, but both seem increasingly unlikely.

Two Republicans – Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky – gave speeches in front of large crowds. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce Monday at Freedom Tower, a facility in downtown Miami that was once used to process Cuban refugees.

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