In what can only be described as the perfect setting for this speech, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton hit it out of the Four Freedoms Park on Saturday as she officially launched her campaign on Roosevelt Island.
The former Senator (D-NY) and First Lady opened with an inclusive nod to both President Obama and former President Bill Clinton, her husband, saying that both presidents were inspired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for whom the park is named.
In her introduction, Sec. Clinton said — to happy cheers — that it was great to be here in New York with her family and so many friends, “including many New Yorkers who gave me the honor of serving them in the Senate for eight years.”
Clinton said it was great to be right across the water from the headquarters of the United Nations, and “To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.”
Which is, she said to wild cheers, a place with no glass ceilings, “And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings.”
Before getting into her economic plans and the importance of inclusiveness in a great society, the Democratic 2016 presidential candidate touched on the core of democratic values, “You know, President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed. One is the man I served as Secretary of State, Barack Obama, (cheers, applause) and another is my husband, Bill Clinton.”
Oh, the crowd LOVED that. The cheers started with Barack Obama and only escalated when she reached Bill Clinton, who was with her on this historic day, as was her daughter Chelsea.
Sec. Clinton continued tying the strings of unity between the two presidents in a palpable moment of strength, “Two Democrats guided by the — (cheering) Oh, that will make him so happy. They were and are two Democrats guided by the fundamental American belief that real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all.”
This signals that Clinton has no intention of “running against Obama”, as many Republicans believe she must (LOL please). Instead, in one moment, Clinton erased any leftover 2008 bitterness and replaced it with strength and unity. She’s going to run on the principles that Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both aspire to, former Democratic President FDR’s four freedoms.
“President Roosevelt called on every American to do his or her part, and every American answered. He said there’s no mystery about what it takes to build a strong and prosperous America: ‘Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few…(cheers, applause.) The preservation of civil liberties for all… (cheers, applause) a wider and constantly rising standard of living.'”
The nail, “That still sounds good to me.”
The audience obviously agreed with Secretary Clinton on this.
“It’s America’s basic bargain. If you do your part you ought to be able to get ahead. And when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too.”
Hillary Clinton knows of what she speaks since she didn’t come from big money or a powerful political dynasty. She’s talking about the same values allowed her to go from a middle-class family in Illinois to First Lady and even Secretary of State.
“It’s what led my father to believe that if he scrimped and saved, his small business printing drapery fabric in Chicago could provide us with a middle-class life. And it did. That bargain inspired generations of families, including my own.”
If Hillary Clinton sounds a bit more liberal than you expected, you’re not mistaken. Yes, she’s been working for families and children her entire career, a career that began in DC before she moved to Arkansas to marry Bill Clinton. But this is the first time many in America got to hear exactly from her, without the constraints of serving a specific constituency as a Senator or being non-political as SOS. The country has shifted left, middle and working class families are in need of vocal champions in DC, and Hillary Rodham Clinton signaled that she is dedicated to that cause.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.