Hillary Clinton announces presidential bid

Hillary Rodham ClintonFormer secretary of state and past US first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Sunday in an online video that she is seeking the left-leaning Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Clinton, 67, is slated to travel this week to the Midwestern state of Iowa, which holds the first of the state presidential contests through which both major parties choose their presidential nominees.

In a video posted to her campaign website, Clinton declares she wants to be a champion for ordinary Americans fighting to get ahead as the United States economy improves.

“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.”

The video opens with images of a diverse group of Americans describing their plans for the future, including opening businesses, preparing for retirement and planning a same-sex wedding.

“I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president,” Clinton says before outlining the economic message that will likely form the backbone of her campaign message.

“It’s your time and I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” she concludes.

Even before her announcement on social media, Clinton was drawing fire from potential challengers for the White House and praise from its current occupant.

At the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat, said that Clinton “would be an excellent president.”

“She was a formidable candidate in 2008,” he said. “If she runs, she’s gonna have some strong messages to deliver.”

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, son and brother of two past presidents, in an internet video criticized “Obama-Clinton” foreign policies and “their failed big government policies.”

“I know we can do better, and together, we will,” said Bush, who has said he is exploring a run but has not formally declared his candidacy. Bush, who is considered one of his party’s top contenders, says he looks forward to a substantive debate “in the coming weeks and months.”

Senator Rand Paul, one of two Republicans who have formally announced they will run for president, criticized Clinton’s role in shaping Obama administration policy in Libya and Syria, alleging that “she took her eye off a very important zone.”

Her husband, Bill Clinton, was president from 1993-2001.

During their time in the White House, she was known for having a significant political role, including spear-heading a failed effort to produce and pass health-care reforms.

As Bill’s final term was ending, the couple changed their residence from Arkansas to New York, where she won a US Senate seat while running as the outgoing first lady.

Hillary was immediately a leading Democrat on entering Congress in 2001. Her 2003 vote in favour of the Iraq war authorization and the Clintons’ close Wall Street connections continue to provoke dissatisfaction with the left wing of the party.

In 2008, Clinton was a heavy favorite to secure the Democratic nomination for president, until then-US senator Barack Obama scored a surprise win in the Iowa caucuses and never gave Clinton a chance to regain her momentum.

After losing the Democratic nomiation, she supported Obama in the general election in which he beat Senator John McCain. Clinton quit the Senate to accept Obama’s appointment as secretary of state, a post she held for his first four-year term.

Clinton is again seen as a strong favourite to win the party’s endorsement and no challengers within the party have yet stepped forward, although former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has given strong indications that he will enter the race.

With Obama constitutionally limited to two terms, ending on January 20, 2017, Vice President Joe Biden has previously voiced willingness to run in 2016 but so far has shown little sign of organizing a campaign.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a left-wing independent from Vermont, is exploring a Democratic presidential bid, as is former senator Jim Webb, a moderate from Virginia. Neither is considered a strong contender.

Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Paul of Kentucky have already formally declared their bids for the conservative Republican Party’s nomination. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to make his own announcement Monday in Miami.

Early polling suggests Clinton would be a significant favourite over any of the expected Republican candidates in the general election.

If elected, Clinton would have the longest career in national politics of any incoming president since the 1840s and would be the second-oldest of any president taking office.

In a newly released epilogue to her State Department memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton described her reaction to the birth of her first grandchild, Charlotte, to daughter, Chelsea.

“Rather than make me want to slow down, it has spurred me to speed up,” she wrote. GNA

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