The question wasn’t whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would announce her 2016 presidential candidacy, but when, how, and with what message. This afternoon, the plan came into focus. Alex Seitz-Wald reports on the video announcement much of the political world has been waiting for.
The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady declared in a video posted to her new website Sunday afternoon, “I’m getting ready to do something too – I’m running for president.”The 2 minute and 18 second video features a wide range of everyday Americans, from a small businessman to a immigrant speaking Spanish, telling the camera they’re getting ready for something: Home improvements, moving, home repairs, Kindergarten.
Everything about this announcement is strikingly different, not only from Clinton’s first campaign eight years ago, but also from what we’ve seen from the other official candidates. Note, for example, that in her launch video, Clinton doesn’t even speak a word until it’s nearly three-fifths over.
The focus is on people – a diverse group of all kinds of people – not on Clinton. In her 2007 kickoff, her big applause line was, “I’m in it to win it.” In 2015, Clinton’s pitch is fundamentally different: “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Americans need a champion and I want to be you’re champion. It’s your time.”
The shift in message and tone is the exact opposite of what we’ve come to expect from candidates who put themselves at the center of their pitch. Clinton, to great effect, is flipping that model on its head.
In her first campaign, the organization was “Hillary Clinton for President.” Today, it’s “Hillary for America.” Campaign manager Robby Mook reminded staffers yesterday, “This campaign is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us – it’s about the everyday Americans who are trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.”
And what about the big speech in front of thousands of cheering, sign-holding supporters? There won’t be one. Clinton is sticking to her strengths, which means avoiding forums that require big, bold oratory.
This is no accident. Clinton ran two very successful statewide campaigns in New York by adopting a very specific style of retail politics. Today’s rollout may be different from her 2007 campaign, but it’s very much in line with the model she relied on effectively in the Empire State.
We’ll have more about Clinton’s candidacy in the morning, but for now, take a look at Rachel’s segment from Friday night about the Democrat’s electoral history, and note the similarities between today’s announcement and the style that’s worked best for Clinton.