Hillary Clinton’s campaign is spending more than $2 million on its first run of television ads, which will air in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire for five weeks beginning on Tuesday.
The two ads — dubbed “Dorothy” and “Family Strong” — both feature Clinton speaking to directly to the camera as she tells the story of her mother, Dorothy, who was abandoned as a child. As Clinton has said in campaign speeches since announcing her second presidential run, her mother’s story helped inspire her to enter public service.
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“That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothy’s,” Clinton says in the first ad. The second spot, “Family strong,” uses the lens of family policy to tell the story of Clinton’s career from law school through serving as secretary of state. In addition to highlighting her mother, it also emphasizes “a new title: grandma.”
The ads are the part of the Clinton campaign’s attempt to reintroduce one of the most famous women in the world as warmer and more down-to-earth than many may perceive her. During her 2008 bid, her campaign team in contrast tried to present Clinton as a tough-as-nails leader, since they feared Americans were unsure a woman could handle the job of being president.
The ads come as polling has shown the public souring on Clinton — her favorability numbers slid and more Americans rated her as untrustworthy. It also comes as Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders has energized huge crowds and come within striking distance of Clinton in some early polls. It’s an opening that some now suspect may entice Vice President Joe Biden to the enter the race.
With her superior resources — Clinton raised $46 million for the Democratic primary in the first three months of her campaign — Clinton can afford to start running ads early and hope to push her favorability numbers back up into positive territory.
The campaign is spending $1 million behind the ads in each state. In Iowa, the ads will run in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, the state’s two biggest media markets. To reach New Hampshire, the ads will run in the Boston/Manchester market, as well as Sanders’ hometown of Burlington, Vermont, just over the border.