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Hillary Clinton To Announce Candidacy For 2016 Presidential Election


All but certain, widely expected - now no more speculation. Hillary Rodham Clinton will launch her presidential campaign on Sunday. Sources familiar with her plans tell NPR the announcement will likely be low-key - a tweet or Facebook video. And then next week she will travel to Iowa. This will be Secretary Clinton's second bid for the presidency. But, as NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, this time she'll be competing in a completely different political environment.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The last chapter of Hillary Clinton's quest for the White House ended seven years ago.


HILLARY CLINTON: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it.


CLINTON: And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.

LIASSON: The next time for Hillary Clinton is right now. She's been laying the groundwork for a campaign for months, lining up staff, a mix of Clinton old-timers and younger tech-savvy Obama veterans. Her advisers say her policy positions are ready, and she's picked out office space for a campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., a train ride away from the Washington press corps but only a subway stop or two for the New York tabloids.

The Brooklyn headquarters will be the nerve center for a campaign that's expected to eventually cost as much as $2 billion and employ thousands of people. The last time she ran for president, Mrs. Clinton had a long and ultimately unsuccessful primary fight against a talented young newcomer, Barack Obama, who captured the public's desire for change and managed to paint her as the candidate of the past.

This time, Hillary Clinton is running with only token opposition in the Democratic Party, but she'll be working hard to show that she doesn't consider herself inevitable and that instead, she's going to fight for every vote. To that end, her staff is planning a general election campaign disguised as a primary campaign, showcasing Clinton's empathy and policy chops in smaller, more intimate settings where she can interact with ordinary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Those are the first three primary states, but also important swing states in a general election.

Her advisers say this is the way Clinton wanted to ramp up her campaign - with four to five weeks of small events. No big speeches are planned. And while she will embrace the historic nature of her candidacy, this time it will probably be some time before she returns to a full-throated assault on the glass ceiling the way she did in a speech last month in Washington.


CLINTON: I suppose it's only fair to say, don't you someday want to see a woman president of the United States of America?

LIASSON: Starting low-key with a series of small events in living rooms and coffee shops is a little like the listening tour she conducted in New York State when, as first lady, she began her very first bid for elected office - for Senate in 2000. It also gives her embryonic campaign some breathing room - time to hire more staff and raise lots of money. The latest polls show she's the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination and a strong but not dominant general election candidate. The most recent polls suggest she's been hurt by the revelation that she kept her State Department e-mails on a private server in her own home.


CLINTON: Looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones and two e-mail accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously it hasn't worked out that way.

LIASSON: Polls show growing numbers of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy. By starting her campaign now, Hillary Clinton will have a chance to try to change their minds. Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.
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