In her first official launch speech Saturday, on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton outlined a broadly progressive vision for America before an enthusiastic crowd, with a focus including voting and LGBT rights, criminal justice, energy and immigration reform, early childhood education and economic inequality.
Though Clinton announced in April that she is running in the 2016 presidential election and has been making small, low-key appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Saturday’s speech was her first full-bells-and-whistles campaign rally, complete with husband Bill and daughter Chelsea making an appearance.
The location, at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park, was symbolically significant because Clinton admires President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political vision.
The park is also, she noted, a place with no ceilings.
“Now it’s time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead,” Clinton, 67, told the audience. “And you know what? America can’t succeed unless you succeed.”
“It’s time to end the outrage of so many women earning less than men on the job with women of color often making even less,” she continued. “This isn’t a women’s issue, this is a families issue, just like raising the minimum wage is a families issue.”
The speech was a significant preview of Clinton’s platform, but avoided policy specifics. It was instead a chance to reintroduce a woman who is one of the most widely known politicians in the world, and who already has one unsuccessful presidential campaign behind her.
“I think you know by now that I ve been called many things by many people,” she said. “‘Quitter’ is not one of them.”
Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, a woman who lived to be 92, who was born before women had the right to vote, was a significant thread of the speech.
One piece of advice she gave, Clinton said: “Life’s not about what happens to you. It’s about what you do with what happens to you – so get back out there.”
And she remembered her mom in her conclusion. “I wish [my mom] could have seen the America we’re going to build together,” she said, “where if you do your part, you see the rewards. An America where we never leave anyone out, or anyone behind.
“An America where a father can tell his daughter: Yes, you can be anything you want to be – even president of the United States.”