MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally announced her second bid to become America's first woman president.
Clinton made the announcement on Sunday, April 12, in a video titled "Getting Started" posted on her website. The video opens with images of diverse, ordinary Americans like young mothers, a college graduate, and a gay couple who talk about life goals they are getting ready for. It ends with a message from Clinton.
"I'm getting ready to do something, too. I'm running for president," Clinton said.
In her message, Clinton veered away from her 2008 campaign message of inevitability, and image of elusiveness.
"Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top," she said. "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 added: "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."
Watch the video here:
Clinton also shared the video on her Twitter account, which was redesigned in time for the big announcement. She also changed her Twitter bio from "TBD" to "2016 presidential candidate."
I'm running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H https://t.co/w8Hoe1pbtC — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 12, 2015
Clinton's only daughter, Chelsea, soon posted this message on Twitter:
Very proud of you Mom! @HillaryClinton : http://t.co/PvMlg82cU2 — Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 12, 2015
The New York Times reported that the first official announcement came from Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta in e-mails "to donors and others." Podesta said Clinton will soon start a tour in Iowa, as part of what analysts called a "retail campaign."
"I wanted to make sure you heard it first from me – it's official: Hillary's running for president," Podesta said in an email addressed to Democratic supporters.
A former New York senator and ex-First Lady, Clinton is the runaway frontrunner in the race for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.
US President Barack Obama's first chief diplomat aims to succeed him after losing to the then Illinois senator in the grueling 2008 campaign.
Ahead of the announcement, Obama spoke highly of Clinton. While in Panama, Obama said on Saturday that Clinton is a “formidable candidate” with “strong messages to deliver.”
"She was a supporter of mine in the general election, she was an outstanding secretary of State, she is my friend," Obama said.
"I think she would be an excellent president."
Clinton's successor US Secretary of State John Kerry also commended her work at the State Department.
"She did a terrific job of rebuilding alliances that had been shredded over the course of the prior years," Kerry said on ABC's This Week.
Photo by Mile Palazzotto/EPA
Redefining the role of first lady
Clinton, 67, is a globally renowned politician, diplomat, author and advocate.
She was a prominent lawyer before marrying former US President Bill Clinton in 1975. A graduate of Wellesley and Yale Law School, she sought to redefine the role of first lady, and took an active role in the Clinton administration. She pushed for health care legislation, and championed human rights, particularly those of women and children.
In what was seen as a swipe at stay-at-home mothers, Clinton stirred controversy for famously saying: "You know, I suppose I could have stayed home, and baked cookies and had teas. But what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."
Clinton explained that she wants women to make their own personal and career choices.
Calling herself a “hair icon and pantsuit aficionado,” Clinton often remarks about media interest in the physical appearance of women in power.
She quipped, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”
At a United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, she delivered a powerful, defining speech on the abuse of women.
She declared: “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
Globe-trotter, speaker, grandmother
After her husband's presidency, Clinton made her own foray into politics as New York senator. She focused on legislative work but became controversial for her 2002 vote supporting the Iraq war – a decision she drew criticism for in her first White House bid.
In 2008, Clinton suffered a stunning defeat to the neophyte Obama despite her well-oiled campaign, and the Clinton power couple's political pedigree.
Pundits attributed her loss to conflicting campaign messages. Obama aides said that she focused on the “inevitability” of her victory instead of connecting with voters, and failed to run a disciplined and organized campaign. Yet after the bitter primaries, Clinton quickly conceded, and rallied her staff to join her in supporting the freshman senator.
Clinton left the political fray as she agreed to become Obama's secretary of state. The most traveled top diplomat in US history, Clinton was an architect of America's strategic pivot to Asia, later known as the Asia rebalance. While the policy lacked followthrough in Obama's second term, foreign affairs analysts believe a Clinton presidency will reinvigorate it.
After leaving government, Clinton hit the lucrative speech circuit, and wrote a book about her time at State, Hard Choices.
She concentrated on the Clinton Foundation, which she runs with her husband and daughter. She also became a first-time grandmother to Charlotte.
File photo by Justin Lane/EPA
'Not about Hillary'
Clinton's announcement ends months of media speculation about her presidential ambitions – dubbed as one of the worst kept secrets in US politics.
It comes on the heels of a controversy over her use of private e-mail as head of the State Department, an issue that again raised questions about her family's supposed lack of transparency, and skepticism of the media.
Clinton's 2016 campaign will draw lessons from the 2008 experience not just on media relations but on its core principles as well.
A memo from the campaign stated that its purpose is "to give every family, every small business, and every American a path to lasting prosperity by electing Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States."
Among the campaign's objectives is staying “humble, disciplined and united.”
"We are humble: We take nothing for granted, we are never afraid to lose, we always outcompete and fight for every vote we can win. We know this campaign will be won on the ground, in states,” the document stated.
“This campaign is not about Hillary Clinton and not about us." – Rappler.com