Hillary Clinton says prosperity must be built, shared by all

Hillary Clinton says prosperity must be built, shared by all

She delivered the first major speech of her second campaign for the White House, portraying herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind after the recession.

By (AP)

Published: Mon 15 Jun 2015, 1:24 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:57 PM

 US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves before she delivers her official launch speech at a campaign kick-off rally in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. -Reuters

New York - Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a new era of shared prosperity in America and told thousands at her first major presidential campaign rally on Saturday that workers can trust her to fight for them.

“It’s America’s basic bargain,” Clinton said. “If you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead, and when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too.

“That bargain inspired generations of American families, including my own,” the former secretary of state and first lady said.

Clinton announced her campaign in April with a low-key rollout and has been conducting intimate listening sessions with voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states with early nominating contests.

On Saturday, she delivered the first major speech of her second campaign for the White House, portraying herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind after the recession.

She cited President Barack Obama, and former Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton, her husband, and said they embraced the idea that “real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.”

Her campaign said her “tenacious fighter” message will form the foundation of the 2016 White House race. She also signalled her intention to campaign on the prospect she would be the first woman elected to the White House.

Clinton told the thousands at the outdoor rally on Roosevelt Island on New York’s East River at the start of her speech she was glad to be with them “in a place with absolutely no ceilings.” She ended her remarks by saying she wanted to join with her supporters to build a country where a father can tell his daughter she can grow up to be anything, “even president of the United States.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters as her husband former President Bill Clinton, second from right, Chelsea Clinton, second from left, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, join on stage. -AP

Long one of the most divisive figures in American politics, Clinton used the speech to present herself on her own terms and turn her politicised history into a strength. She lost her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama, then a US senator.

Eager and excited Democrats began assembling hours before they heard from the front-runner for the party’s nomination. Also in the race are Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

On Friday, the Clinton campaign released a video on Friday detailing her four decades in public service, starting with her work as a young lawyer at the Children’s Defence Fund.

After the Saturday speech, Clinton planned to visit early-voting states, with events focused on her relationship with her mother and her father’s background as a veteran and small businessman.

In her Saturday address, Clinton said: “I have been called many things by many people. Quitter is not one of them.” That’s something that comes from her mother, Dorothy Rodham, she said, adding that she would confide in her mother after hard days in the Senate and at the State Department.

While Clinton focused primarily on economic policy, she also talked about foreign policy. She told the crowd that as Obama’s secretary of state she had stood up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was in the White House Situation Room the night Osama bin Laden was killed. She said the US is uniquely positioned to confront a variety of challenges around the world and says she would do whatever it takes to “keep American safe.”

Foreign policy has become a touchstone issue in the Republican presidential campaign, with the rise of the Daesh and the US role in the Middle East at the centre of the debate. No clear front-runner has emerged in a crowded Republican field which will grow further on Monday with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s anticipated announcement of his candidacy.

Clinton has spoken out strongly on immigration and other issues important to parts of the Democratic base. But she has been reticent on other policy questions that have divided the party, among them a trade deal with Pacific Rim nations. Obama backs it. Organised labour, liberals and others say it would cost US jobs. Her rivals, Sanders and O’Malley have both come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On Friday, dozens of union-backed House Democrats voted down a critical part of Obama’s trade agenda, negotiating authority that would let him propose trade agreements that Congress could accept or reject, but not amend.

Clinton was joined by her husband and daughter Chelsea at the rally. It was the first time the family had been seen together in public since Clinton began her campaign in April, and the crowd chanted “Bill! Bill! Bill!” when she introduced him.

“Oh, that will make him so happy,” Clinton said.

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