Clin­ton says she’s run­ning for ‘ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans’

An­nounce­ment of can­di­dacy sets off for­eign pol­icy crit­i­cism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S. A. MILLER

Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s newly minted pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has en­er­gized the wrong base: She’s ac­ti­vated Repub­li­cans determined to beat her and Demo­cratic Party estab­lish­ment ea­ger to cash in on her fund-rais­ing prow­ess, while the lib­eral vot­ers she cov­ets re­main tepid.

The for­mer sec­re­tary of state tai­lored the launch of her cam­paign to ap­peal to the lib­eral base, declar­ing her­self a cham­pion of ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans, tak­ing a road trip to Iowa in a “Scooby Doo” van and vow­ing to re­store fair­ness to an econ­omy where a “CEO makes about 300 times what the av­er­age worker makes.”

Still, party ac­tivists gave her a cool re­cep­tion and keep urg­ing lib­eral fire­brand Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren to chal­lenge Mrs. Clin­ton for the nom­i­na­tion, though the Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat has re­peat­edly re­buffed calls to get in the race.

Repub­li­can Party of­fi­cials were more ex­cited. They all but re­joiced over hav­ing the woman they love to hate back in the fir­ing line.

“I ac­tu­ally like the idea of run­ning against Hil­lary Clin­ton,” Reince Priebus, chair­man of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee, said Mon­day on CNN, not­ing that her use of a web video to an­nounce her can­di­dacy showed that she was still dodg­ing re­porters and care­fully chore­o­graph each step on the cam­paign trail.

“Her roll­out was noth­ing but a big bore and ac­tu­ally … she had to op­er­ate that way be­cause she can’t ac­tu­ally get out there in front of a press gag­gle,” he said. ‘So what does she do? She gets in a mini­van, which ac­tu­ally none of [the press] can ac­tu­ally speak to her about. She’s now go­ing to have pri­vate lis­ten­ing ses­sions in Iowa. Again, no press, no con­tro­versy. You know, it’s not go­ing to last long, I can as­sure you of that.”

The RNC’s cam­paign against Mrs. Clin­ton, dubbed #StopHil­lary, gained mo­men­tum in the run-up to her an­nounce­ment Sun­day.

In three days, the RNC ac­cu­mu­lated $9.9 mil­lion in earned TV me­dia and 1,675 in­di­vid­ual hits across TV and ra­dio, ac­cord­ing to the party of­fi­cials.

At the cen­ter of RNC’s me­dia blitz was a web video the high­lighted the con­tro­ver­sies swirling around Mrs. Clin­ton, in­clud­ing her ex­clu­sive use of a pri­vate email ac­count while sec­re­tary of state and lin­ger­ing ques­tions about the 2012 ter­ror attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed Am­bas­sador Christo­pher J. Stevens and three other Amer­i­cans.

The ef­fort in­cluded a pe­ti­tion and fundrais­ing drive.

The Demo­cratic Party also saw an op­por­tu­nity to raise money off Mrs. Clin­ton.

“With­out a doubt Hil­lary Clin­ton ex­cites donors, ac­tivists, and all Demo­cratic vot­ers in ways that few oth­ers can,” said a Demo­cratic of­fi­cial, who didn’t want to be quoted talk­ing about fundrais­ing strat­egy.

The Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and the Demo­cratic Sen­a­to­rial Cam­paign Com­mit­tee both im­me­di­ately fol­lowed Mrs. Clin­ton’s an­nounce­ment with email fundrais­ing ap­peal to ben­e­fit their can­di­dates.

The DCCC em­pha­sized Mrs. Clin­ton’s po­ten­tial to make his­tory as the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the United States, a pitch Mrs. Clin­ton also is ex­pected to use as she courts women vot­ers.

“The next Demo­cratic pres­i­dent need a Congress the he — or SHE — can work with,” screams the email. “Let’s put to­gether a HUGE surge of grass­roots sup­port Democrats in the next 24 hours!”

DCCC Chair­man Ben Ray Lu­ján state­ment about Mrs. Clin­ton’s can­di­dacy was more muted.

“If cho­sen as our pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Hil­lary Clin­ton will bring ex­pe­ri­ence and en­ergy to the cam­paign trail that will turn out hard-work­ing fam­i­lies in New Mex­ico and across the coun­try, and ex­cite a new gen­er­a­tion of Democrats,” said the New Mex­ico Demo­crat.

Demo­cratic cam­paign strate­gist Craig Varoga, who pre­vi­ously worked on Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton’s 1996 re-elec­tion team, said the on­slaught of GOP at­tacks will even­tu­ally help Mrs. Clin­ton win over her base.

“This is like New­ton’s third law of physics, for ev­ery ac­tion, there is an equal and op­po­site re­ac­tion,” he said. “First, the RNC and con­ser­va­tive groups will send out fever­ish emails at­tack­ing Hil­lary as a way to raise money, be­cause that’s what hap­pens in a coun­try that is deeply di­vided along party lines. Then, th­ese GOP at­tacks will fur­ther en­er­gize the Demo­cratic base, help­ing the Clin­ton cam­paign with both donors and un­de­cided Democrats.”

He said that a year from now when both the Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can bases will be “en­er­gized and ready to rum­ble.”

Mean­while, Mrs. Clin­ton con­tin­ued to ag­gres­sively court the party’s lib­eral base.

She sent sup­port­ers an email seek­ing con­tri­bu­tions and tout­ing her fam­i­lies hum­ble his­tory, again strik­ing a pop­ulist chord.

“I’ve spent my en­tire life stand­ing up for women, chil­dren, fam­i­lies, and any­one who needed a lit­tle help along the way. That’s what this cam­paign will be about, and that’s what I’ll do ev­ery sin­gle day as your pres­i­dent,” said Mrs. Clin­ton. “It’s time for us to fight for peo­ple like my dad, who ran a small busi­ness and com­mit­ted him­self to build­ing a bet­ter life for his fam­ily.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton doesn’t ap­pear un­til nearly three-quar­ters through the video an­nounc­ing her can­di­dacy, af­ter a mon­tage of or­di­nary Amer­i­cans mak­ing plans for their lives.

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