At her first campaign rally of the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton will speak extensively about how her late mother -- abandoned as a child -- forged her commitment to helping others, according to a campaign official.
Clinton will talk Saturday about her belief, learned from her mother, that all children need a champion and how that has fueled her entire career from her first days as a young lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund to her time as First Lady to her tenure as secretary of state.
Dorothy Rodham was abandoned by both her parents after they divorced. By the time she was 14, she was living on her own but numerous acts of kindness by friends and neighbors allowed her to turn her life around.
“When I got old enough to understand all this, I asked my mother how she survived abuse and abandonment without becoming embittered and emotionally stunted. How did she emerge from this lonely early life as such a loving and levelheaded woman?” Clinton wrote in her memoir, Hard Choices. “I’ll never forget how she replied. ‘At critical points in my life somebody showed me kindness,’ she said. ‘Sometimes it would seem so small, but it would mean so much.’ ”
Clinton is expected to deliver a speech outlining what is at stake in the election, what she would seek to accomplish as president and what led her to enter public service and what keeps her motivated today.
She will unveil a series of domestic priorities, including the economy, that will be the subject of policy announcements during the summer.
But much of the speech will focus on Clinton’s personal story as she looks to push back against the notion that she is an out-of-touch Washington insider who received hefty paychecks for speeches and remains tied to the nation’s biggest corporations.
“She is a well-known figure but when you're asking the American people to support you as president, even if it is for the second time, there is no skipping of steps,” Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said. “If you want to understand Hillary Clinton, and what has motivated her career of fighting for kids and families, her mother is a big part of the story. The example she learned from her mother's story is critical to knowing what motivated Hillary Clinton to first get involved in public service, and why people can count on her to fight for them and their families now.”
Clinton has repeatedly said since her launch April 12 that she wants to be a champion for everyday Americans. Expect to hear that line again Saturday.
She will speak about what the campaign calls her guiding principle: that the measure of America’s success is not how those at the top are doing but how our families are doing. She will contrast herself with Republicans, who the campaign says, rely on a tired, unsuccessful tactic of lowering taxes for the wealthy and fewer rules for the biggest corporations.
The Republican National Committee released an ad Thursday saying that American people view Clinton as a dishonest, out-of-touch and untrustworthy.
The ad, part of a continuation of the RNC’s six-figure #StopHillary campaign, will target voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
“Hillary Clinton’s latest campaign reset won’t change a thing,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said. “This is the same person who said she was ‘dead broke’ when her family in fact owned multiple homes. And this is the same person who complains about wealthy CEOs even as she and her husband raked in $30 million from speeches in just 18 months — hundreds of times more than the average working family. Everyday Americans do need a champion, but Hillary Clinton can't be that champion.”
Clinton’s first rally -- billed by her presidential campaign as a launch rally -- will be at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York City.
After Saturday’s rally, she will travel to Iowa on June 13 and 14, New Hampshire on June 15, South Carolina on June 17 and in Nevada on June 18, where she will further discuss her personal story.
Her campaign is producing a biographical video documenting the fights Clinton has taken on during her career, dating back to her work after law school for the Children’s Defense Fund, which will unveiled in the days after the kickoff event.
Clinton was the first to announce her candidacy. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have since joined the race. Former Sen. Jim Webb or Virginia is considering a run.