Conventional political wisdom going into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announcement was that she needed to provide a reason she was running for president, a rationale beyond “it’s my turn.” It’s not a big ask, but it’s one many candidates have failed on. General consensus, though, seems to be that Clinton succeeded with her announcement video focusing on other people’s stories and opening her campaign with a sort of populist-lite narrative:
In the 2007 video announcing the 2008 run, she spoke somberly from a couch in her home about the deficit, the war in Iraq, energy independence, health care and the failings of then-President George W. Bush. She talked about her own record and biography, and was accompanied by a confident statement on her Web site, “I’m in and I’m in to win.”
This time, her video says little about her biography, issues and plans, and much about the lives of Americans she wants to win over. It is upbeat, with humor, music and images of everyday Americans talking about challenges and opportunities in their lives. This time, she says, with considerably more humility: “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote.”
So maybe, against all insider expectations, she’s going to run a pretty good campaign.
Friend not in politics says she “literally cried” during Clinton video. After she checked to make sure it wasn’t an ad for something else.
In fact, there was more Facebook discussion of Clinton’s announcement than of the announcements of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul combined.
Of course, Republicans couldn’t let themselves lose a stride, and they’d marked out their lines of attack well in advance of Clinton’s actual announcement. They swarmed the Sunday morning talk shows to get that message out. Mitt Romney’s line of attack was priceless:
“She’s a creature of Washington,” Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, added. “She’s been there a long time.”
As opposed to Romney, who did his damnedest for years and couldn’t quite get to Washington. Rand Paul, meanwhile, went with Benghazi on CNN’s State of the Union. RNC Chair Reince Priebus was tweeting up a storm about the need to #StopHillary (and build the RNC’s email list along the way). Carly Fiorina was continuing on her own “you need me, Republicans, because you need a woman to attack Hillary” path. In short, business as usual. It will be interesting to see when, if ever, Republicans adjust their attacks to the campaign Clinton is running—the one with the populist, voter-focused message where she’s on her way to Iowa for some small, voter-centric events—or if they just keep running against the candidate they want her to be.