Hillary Clinton launches bid for US presidency

Pledges to champion ‘everyday Americans’

Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for the US presidency in a video posted to hillaryclinton.com.   Photograph: Hillary For America via AP

Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for the US presidency in a video posted to hillaryclinton.com. Photograph: Hillary For America via AP

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton has officially launched her second attempt to become the first female US president, firing the starting gun on the 2016 presidential race.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady declared her candidacy today in a slickly produced video that was starkly different from her 2007 campaign announcement, focusing on the kind of voters she hopes to win over at the ballot in 574 days rather than on herself.

The video is dominated by Americans getting ready for big events in their lives, including a woman whose daughter is about to start school, two immigrants about to start their first business, a couple expecting their first baby and a gay man about to marry his partner.

“I’m getting ready to do something too,” Mrs Clinton says, standing in front of a house and garden. “I’m running for president.” In the two-minute video, Mrs Clinton attempts to connect with the American people and focuses on economic inequality, likely to be a major campaign issue for all candidates.

‘Tough economic times’

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top,” she says.

“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.”

She followed up her announcement saying on Twitter that she was “headed to Iowa”. Her first major campaign speech is expected next month.

The 67-year-old is the third major candidate to declare her candidacy, following announcements by Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, but the first on the Democratic side.

Early salvos

Illustrating the strength of her candidacy, a host of expected and declared Republican contenders and one Democrat, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee, fired salvos at Mrs Clinton before she said she was running.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, one of the leading likely Republican candidates said in a video that the country “must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy” and “better than their failed, big-government policies”.

Mr Paul lambasted her for using a private email address for official business as secretary of state and for her family’s charitable foundation taking foreign donations. “I do think that there is sort of a history of the Clintons sort of feeling like they’re above the law,” he told CNN.