By LISA LERER and KEN THOMAS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to deliver the first major speech of her Democratic presidential primary campaign in New York City next week. It’s a new phase of her campaign, one that adds some fanfare and policy specifics to a White House bid marked by small events in parts of the country since its launch.
Clinton will frame the themes of her candidacy in her June 13 address at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, in view of U.N. headquarters, her campaign says. She’ll be joined by former President Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, who have stayed away from the campaign trail, going so far as to travel to Africa in the weeks that followed Clinton’s entry into the race in April.
Her team is billing the event as a campaign kickoff even though she already had one, lower key, at the start.
Clinton remains the dominant player in the Democratic primary field, despite the recent entries of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee plans to announce his presidential bid on Wednesday in Northern Virginia.
Much of the Democratic party has already coalesced around Clinton’s campaign, which has snatched up most of the party’s strongest donors and much of the party infrastructure. Even as Clinton makes overhauling the campaign finance system a major tenet of her bid, her team expects that her campaign and Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing her candidacy, will raise over $1 billion between both.
Republicans, too, expect Clinton to be the Democratic nominee and have focused most of their criticism on her foreign policy record and association with President Barack Obama.
“I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said in launching his Republican presidential bid Monday. “That includes you, Hillary.”
The setting of Clinton’s speech seems a symbolic overture to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
The former New York senator has long been inspired by Roosevelt, a president revered by Democrats as a founder of modern liberalism. A former first lady herself, Clinton also admires his wife, Eleanor, who was among the most prominent presidential spouses of the 20th century. When she dispenses advice, Hillary Clinton often cites Eleanor Roosevelt’s admonition that women in public life need to develop a skin “as tough as rhinoceros hide.”
Clinton also said she was studying the life and Republican presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, a distant cousin of FDR who confronted Wall Street and brought fundamental change to the country.
“I think we just need to get back into that can-do, problem-solving spirit that the Roosevelts exemplified,” Clinton said in November.
The park sits at the tip of Roosevelt Island across from the United Nations complex. The park name refers to FDR’s call for freedom of speech and worship, and freedom from want and fear.
Clinton has centered her campaign on four needs: a better economy, help for families, a campaign finance overhaul and strong national security.
Clinton is staging the address in a testing ground of modern liberalism. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a one-time Clinton campaign aide, has traveled the country promoting progressive policies he hopes the party will take up and has been at the forefront of a push to provide early childhood education, a longtime Clinton goal.
After her address, Clinton will return to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina to rally supporters and meet volunteers. The Iowa meeting will be simulcast to nearly every congressional district in the country, demonstrating the breadth of her organization.
Throughout the summer and fall, she’ll release detailed policy proposals, focused on economic issues, aides said. Since launching her campaign in April, she’s traveled the country holding small roundtable events and raising money.
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