Clinton's stronger, softer second sortie

Clinton's stronger, softer second sortie
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with local residents as she campaigns at the Jones Street Java House in LeClaire, Iowa.

WASHINGTON - Mrs Hillary Clinton has launched her second bid for the White House as a stronger and more experienced candidate with a clearer message, say analysts.

Mrs Clinton announced her candidacy on April 12 in a video featuring "average" Americans that makes clear her message to be a "champion" for the people.

In comparison, "she struggled to articulate a unifying theme to her 2008 campaign", said Ms Kelly Winfrey, a lecturer at the Carrie Chapman Catt Centre for Women & Politics at Iowa State University.

Her video for the 2008 race emphasised her willingness to have a dialogue with the people, but was very much centred on her and less so on the people she was willing to work for. Learning from past mistakes, she is likely to adopt a softer image that plays up her feminine side.

University of Massachusetts Amherst associate professor of political science Jesse Rhodes said Mrs Clinton had tried "to position herself as the tough, hawkish candidate" in the last election.

"In 2016, she's emphasising themes - empathy, compassion, etc - that are more popular with many Democratic primary voters," he said.

A candidate has to win his or her party's nomination in a primary election before contesting the presidential election. Mrs Clinton lost in the primaries to President Barack Obama in 2008.

She currently leads all other Democratic candidates with 59.8 per cent of the Democratic vote, with the nearest contender, Senator Elizabeth Warren, having only 12.2 per cent, according to an aggregate of recent polls by political website Real Clear Politics.

Polls also predict that she would beat any Republican candidate if the presidential election were held today.

Cautious about being seen as arrogant or over-confident, Mrs Clinton is trying to appeal to ordinary Americans. She travelled by van last week from New York to Iowa where she met people in small groups rather than in large town halls.

"I think this strategy could be very successful in making her relatable," said Ms Winfrey.

There is no doubt that she is more qualified than in 2008, and definitely more so than her prospective Republican opponents.

"Her tenure as secretary of state, along with her service in the Senate, makes her one of the most experienced candidates since Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush," said Associate Professor Daniel Franklin of Georgia State University's political science department.

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