Hil­lary in Iowa for start of ‘hum­ble’ cam­paign tour

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JIRTME CAR­TILLIER

For­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State and for­mer first lady Hil­lary Clin­ton ar­rives in Iowa on Tues­day dur­ing an over­land road trip to begin a se­ries of low-key meet­ings with or­di­nary vot­ers and set the tone for her cam­paign.

It is in Mon­ti­cello, a small town of 4,000 in­hab­i­tants in the key Mid­west­ern state that the for­mer top U.S. diplo­mat will hold her first small round­tables with mid­dle-class vot­ers af­ter crowd­ing into a van trav­el­ing from New York.

Clin­ton fi­nally an­nounced her bid to join the race to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and give the rul­ing Demo­cratic Party a third-straight pres­i­den­tial term for the first time in more than half a cen­tury.

The an­nounce­ment un­leashed a fierce, highly-co­or­di­nated op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party at­tacks on her “failed poli­cies of the past” and what they call an un­even per­for­mance at some of the high­est lev­els of U.S. gov­ern­ment.

The 2008 cam­paign vet­eran struck a note of hu­mil­ity this time with her pledge to cham­pion “ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans” — a de­par­ture from her hard-as-nails ap­proach when she lost her party’s nom­i­na­tion to Obama seven years ago.

She trav­eled via a mod­est mini- van with a small team, rather than a pri­vate jet, with much of her itin­er­ary shrouded in se­crecy.

An agri­cul­tural state of a lit­tle more than three mil­lion res­i­dents, Iowa plays an out­sized role in U.S. geog­ra­phy and po­lit­i­cal his­tory.

It is the first elec­toral bat­tle­ground for White House can­di­dates, where vot­ers make their pref­er­ences known be­fore any other state in party pri­maries and cau­cuses.

The re­sult in Iowa, while yield­ing only a few party del­e­gates to the na­tional Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic Party con­ven­tions, helps set the tone of the cam­paign.

Clin­ton’s first ma­jor rally and the speech that kicks off her cam­paign is not ex­pected un­til May.

While Clin­ton aims to break the “glass ceil­ing” and be­come the na­tion’s first fe­male com­man­derin- chief, her Repub­li­can ri­vals want to re­verse course from what will be eight years of Obama poli­cies they say have made Amer­ica weaker and eco­nom­i­cally stag­nant.

Ru­bio Dives into Race

Repub­li­can Party Sen. Marco Ru­bio of­fi­cially launched his pres­i­den­tial bid Mon­day, call­ing for new Amer­i­can lead­er­ship that is not “stuck in the 20th cen­tury.”

Ru­bio, a 43- year- old Florida law­maker and son of im­mi­grants from Cuba who of­ten casts his per­sonal arc as the em­bod­i­ment of the Amer­i­can Dream, pre­sented the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as “a gen­er­a­tional choice about what kind of coun­try we will be.”

The re­mark, in a home­town speech at Miami’s Free­dom Tower that once pro­cessed Cuban im­mi­grants into the United States, was a clear jab at his older ri­vals, no­tably Clin­ton, 67, and his fel­low Repub­li­can and for­mer men­tor Jeb Bush, 62.

And should he win the elec­tion, Ru­bio would also have his own claim to his­tory, as the na­tion’s first His­panic com­man­der-in-chief.

Equally at ease dis­cussing for­eign pol­icy, deficit re­duc­tion, his fam­ily’s com­pelling nar­ra­tive or hip-hop mu­sic, Ru­bio took a di­rect swipe at Clin­ton.

Ru­bio has en­joyed a re­mark­able po­lit­i­cal rise since run­ning for Se­nate as an un­der­dog in 2010, when he was swept into the U.S. Congress on a con­ser­va­tive tea party wave.

Ru­bio joins two other Repub­li­can first-term sen­a­tors who are al­ready run­ning: Ted Cruz of Texas, who is also Cuban-Amer­i­can, and lib­er­tar­ian-lean­ing Rand Paul from Ken­tucky.

Cruz in a state­ment wel­comed his friend to the pres­i­den­tial rodeo, say­ing Ru­bio will help “el­e­vate the de­bate for all of us.”

While Clin­ton has few se­ri­ous Demo­cratic chal­lengers — Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and for­mer Mary­land Gover­nor Martin O’Mal­ley have ex­pressed in­ter­est but lit­tle else — sev­eral more Repub­li­cans may jump into the fray, in­clud­ing Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker and for­mer Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Should Bush, a for­mer gover­nor and the son and brother of two pres­i­dents, en­ter the race as ex­pected, his duel against fel­low Florid­ian Ru­bio could be a com­pelling nar­ra­tive of the Repub­li­can pri­mary.

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