Out­lin­ing an ex­panded vi­sion

Los Angeles Times - - NEWS - By Michael A. Me­moli michael.me­moli@la­times.com Twit­ter: @mike­mem­oli

Kick­ing off a new phase of her cam­paign, Clin­ton puts the fo­cus on the mid­dle class.

NEW YORK — Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton cast her­self as a fighter for Amer­i­cans who have yet to share in the na­tion’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery, drawing in­spi­ra­tion from a Demo­cratic icon as well as her own roots in public ser­vice Satur­day as she launched a new phase of her sec­ond bid for the White House.

Speak­ing in a park ded­i­cated to Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, on an is­land in New York’s East River that of­fered sweep­ing views of the Man­hat­tan sky­line, Clin­ton said FDR’s le­gacy had in­spired the ad­min­is­tra­tions of both Pres­i­dent Obama and her hus­band, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, and gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies in­clud­ing her own.

To­day, while the na­tion is “stand­ing again” af­ter the Great Re­ces­sion, “we all know we’re not yet run­ning the way Amer­ica should,” she said, blam­ing the prob­lems on Repub­li­cans’ “trickle-down” ap­proach.

Clin­ton sought to tap into the coun­try’s still-nag­ging eco­nomic anx­i­eties and the ris­ing pop­ulism within her own party, declar­ing that the “time has come” for mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans who have won­dered when their hard work would pay off.

“Pros­per­ity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund man­agers. Democ­racy can’t be just for bil­lion­aires and cor­po­ra­tions,” she said. “You brought our coun­try back. Now it’s time, your time, to se­cure our gains and move ahead. And you know what? Amer­ica can’t suc­ceed un­less you suc­ceed.”

The Repub­li­can “choir,” she said, had some “new voices,” but all of them were “singing the same old song: a song called ‘Yes­ter­day.’ ”

The line served both as an ac­cu­sa­tion that Repub­li­cans would re­turn to the poli­cies Democrats blame for bring­ing about the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008 and as a re­join­der to those in the GOP who have dubbed her a can­di­date of the past, seek­ing to run for a third Obama term.

On is­sues in­clud­ing cli­mate change, eco­nomic fair­ness, im­mi­gra­tion and equal rights for gays and les­bians, Clin­ton said it was Repub­li­cans who were out of step with the public.

“Fun­da­men­tally they re­ject what it takes to build an in­clu­sive econ­omy,” she said. “It takes an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety— what I once called a vil­lage — that has a place for ev­ery­one.”

She also of­fered a per­sonal qual­i­fi­ca­tion, drawing loud ap­plause when she re­minded the crowd that while she might not be the youngest can­di­date in the race, she would be “the youngest woman pres­i­dent in the his­tory of the United States.”

Clin­ton used the high­pro­file speech to high­light other bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails her cam­paign ad­vi­sors be­lieve many Amer­i­cans con­tinue to be un­fa­mil­iar with.

Her vi­sion of Amer­ica was not one she learned from pol­i­tics, she said, but from her fam­ily, specif­i­cally her late mother, Dorothy Rod­ham. Aban­doned as a young child, her mother sur­vived and was an ex­am­ple of the im­por­tance of per­se­ver­ance and hard work in the face of ad­ver­sity, Clin­ton said.

“My mother taught me that ev­ery­one needs a chance and a cham­pion. She knew what it was like not to have ei­ther one,” she said.

Clin­ton did not shy away from those char­ac­ter­is­tics that Amer­i­cans are far more familiar with, in­clud­ing her sta­tus as a long­time tar­get of Repub­li­can at­tacks.

She promised to seek part­ners in both par­ties to ad­vance her vi­sion, but em­pha­sized her rep­u­ta­tion for tenac­ity.

“I’ll also stand my ground when I must,” she said. “I’ve been called many things by many peo­ple. ‘Quit­ter’ is not one of them.”

Repub­li­cans jabbed back. Clin­ton’s speech was “chock full of hyp­o­crit­i­cal at­tacks, par­ti­san rhetoric and ideas from the past,” said Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee spokes­woman Al­li­son Moore.

Clin­ton launched her can­di­dacy in April with an on­line video, as she had done when she be­gan her first cam­paign in 2007. But she never did then what she did Satur­day: hold a for­mal public cam­paign rally in which she could of­fer a more ex­pan­sive ra­tio­nale for her pres­i­dency.

Her new cam­paign team mostly in­cludes peo­ple who were not part of her 2008 run, but who have closely stud­ied the mis­takes that cost her the nom­i­na­tion then, at a time when she was also the party’s pre­sumed front-run­ner.

Her ad­vi­sors bris­tle at the no­tion that Satur­day’s rally was part of an ef­fort to re­boot the still-young cam­paign; they said it was the start of a new phase of the cam­paign in which she’ll begin to of­fer more de­tails on the kind of pres­i­dency she en­vi­sions.

An­drew Gombert Euro­pean Pressphoto Agency

SPEAK­ING in New York, Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton in­voked Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt and her own roots in public ser­vice. “Pros­per­ity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund man­agers,” she said.

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