Updated...NEW YORK — Hillary Rodham Clinton finally jumped in the White House race on Sunday, making official her second try to become the first female president.
By Sunday afternoon she was en route to Iowa, saying via Twitter, “Road trip! Loaded the van & set off for IA.”
The Clinton campaign on Sunday released an announcement video, where the first 90 seconds is about a diverse group of people talking about their future plans. Then Clinton chimes in.
“I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president.”
She adds, standing outside of her Chappaqua home in suburban New York, “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead and stay ahead.
“Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
Clinton’s Sunday video was a deliberate contrast to the one launching her 2008 bid, taped inside her Washington home, featuring only Clinton.
On Twitter, Clinton repeated the “champion” theme. “I’m running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” she said to her more than 3.1 million followers.
The launch of Clinton’s 2016 bid, by design, is going to be slow and stripped of glitz. There will be an official, formal kickoff in May.
Clinton is mindful of the mistakes of her 2008 presidential run and determined not to repeat them in her historic redo.
Unlike in 2007, when Clinton started with an “exploratory campaign,” the former first lady, New York senator and secretary of State jumped right in the race for the Democratic nomination — though she does not have much competition.
In the coming days, Clinton will take her “Hillary for America” campaign to Iowa and New Hampshire, the states with the first 2016 votes. She plans to meet with small groups of voters in low-key settings, without a press bus following her.
Clinton, 67, a Chicago native — born in the old Edgewater Hospital and raised in Park Ridge — is building a campaign overseen by John Podesta, who also grew up in Chicago. Podesta is close to Bill Clinton and is a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who also served in the Clinton and Obama White House, is in regular touch with the couple.
In an email to Clinton’s fundraisers, Podesta said: “We need to make the middle class mean something again. We can do this.”
While the early events of Clinton 2016 will be small and easier to manage, the fundraising will have to be massive — with a billion dollars in spending a realistic estimate for a 2016 contest. Chicago’s J.B. Pritzker, a 2008 Clinton backer, is expected to take on a major role in her 2016 campaign.
The Illinois finance director is Jeremy Hallahan, a fundraiser for Emanuel’s just concluded re-election campaign. In an email sent Sunday targeting Illinois Democrats, Hallahan mentioned Clinton’s Illinois roots and alluded to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House in urging people to donate to become a “Hillstarter.”
“I am hoping you will join our opening push and contribute $2,700 dollars today and commit to be a Hillstarter by raising $27,000 over the next 30 days. Let’s show Secretary Clinton her home state stands with her,” Hallahan wrote.
The campaign’s first big donor finance call will be Monday with Podesta, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign vice chair Huma Abedin.
Mook outlined the “purposes and values” of the Clinton campaign organization at a meeting Saturday with her 2016 team at her Brooklyn headquarters.
“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,” said the memo, titled, “We are Hillary for America,” obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times and first disclosed in Politico.
The Clinton team memo further outlined her campaign vision:
“We are disciplined: driven every day by strategy, not tactics or one offs. We know there will be tough days, but we will bounce back and get back to work. We take risks, always measuring with empirical data to establish best practices.
“We are humble: we take nothing for granted, we are never afraid to lose, we always out-compete and fight for every vote we can win. We know this campaign will be won on the ground, in states.”
Obama, speaking in Panama on Saturday, said Clinton “was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president.”
Clinton already is under attack by Republican 2016 contenders, and congressional Republicans will continue to address Benghazi and her missing State Department emails.
Before Clinton’s Sunday announcement, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a video, “We need to push for conservative ideas that will renew America and strengthen our presence in the world after the Obama-Clinton foreign policy failures.”
Others testing the 2016 Democratic primary waters are Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.; former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee; and Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt., who would likely run as a Democratic if he got in the race.
Clinton has work to do with the Democratic progressive wing.
Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a group wooing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to get in the race, said they need to hear from Clinton “how she plans to address our nation’s income inequality crisis and stand up to the wealthy and powerful interests on Wall Street and elsewhere that dominate our political process.”
“Secretary Clinton has earned the respect of Democracy for America members because of her deep commitment to the rights of women and children, two groups impacted immensely by income inequality, the issue that will define the 2016 election,” he said.
Clinton came in third in the 2007 Iowa caucus vote, giving Obama momentum she could never overcome. The Hawkeye state will be her first stop.
Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Sue Dvorsky told the Sun-Times, “She needs to come here and be herself.”
In Iowa, Clinton does not have to reintroduce herself, Dvorsky said. “It’s really more about re-engagement. . . . This will not be a heavy lift here.”
David Yepsen, a former Des Moines Register political reporter who is now the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, told the Sun-Times, when it comes to Iowa, “she has to go back to the scene of where she was mugged last time and win.”
“And beat those demons that brought her down,” he said. “I just think she does not have any choice. The race starts there.”