Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets members of the audience after speaking at the Center for American Progress March 23, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Hillary Clinton’s surprise event


Hillary Clinton is holding a surprise event Wednesday in Brooklyn – but it’s not that kind of surprise.

Instead of a presidential campaign announcement, the former secretary of state will join Chirlane McCray, the wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to launch new citywide “Talk to Your Baby” public awareness campaign to encourage parents to help build their children’s vocabulary.

Closing the “word gap” between low- and high-income children has been a focus of Clinton’s work for more than a year at her family’s charitable foundation. In speeches, Clinton often extols the benefits of talking and singing to babies on cognitive development, and recalls the time a baby Chelsea Clinton asked her mother to stop singing off key. 

Clinton will likely have to suspend her work with the Clinton Foundation once she officially declares her presidential campaign, so Wednesday’s event offers a final opportunity for her promote this issue outside of the political fray.

Clinton is expected base her upcoming presidential campaign in downtown Brooklyn, but on Wednesday she’ll be at the SCO FirstSteps Child Development Center in Brownsville, a low-income neighborhood that has been called the “murder capital of New York City.”

The former secretary of state held what was expected to be her last event before a campaign launch last week, but the mayor’s office announced Clinton’s appearance unexpectedly on Tuesday. 

Clinton aides, who have already started working full time for the campaign-in-waiting, even though they are not getting paid and there is no campaign, say she is still eying a launch date sometime in April. The exact date remains a closely held secret, and Clinton has considered several possible options, which are said to be concentrated around the beginning or middle of the month.

April is a prime window to launch a campaign, thanks to a peculiarity of campaign finance laws.