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Clinton To Roll Out Her Campaign On The Small Stage


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Hillary Clinton is expected today to release a web video announcing something pretty much everyone has assumed for a long time. The former secretary of state, former U.S. senator and former first lady is running for president again. But this time, she says she's doing it differently and hoping for a different result. We're joined now by NPR's Tamara Keith, who will be covering the Clinton campaign for the duration. Hi, Tam.


MARTIN: So we've seen this movie before. Any indication of how this campaign launch is going to be different from the one that she did back in 2007?

KEITH: Just like in 2007, her first stop is going to be Iowa - the State of Iowa. And unlike 2007, though, they're saying expect small events. Think living rooms as opposed to last time where her first event out of the box was this thousand-person town hall meeting in Des Moines. And this is also going to come in contrast to the Republican candidates who've already launched with big events and big speeches. What they were trying project - what she was trying to protect last time was political muscle. This time, she's trying to not run like a rock star. She's trying to show that she's taking nothing for granted. Also, the themes are going to be a little bit different. Instead of downplaying the fact that she's a woman, she's expected to play it up. She's talking about been a grandmother and having her new granddaughter Charlotte. And then tying her economic agenda to saying, you know, all kids should have the same kind of opportunities that Charlotte has.

MARTIN: OK, but first, of course, she has to make it through a primary season. There are no big names on the Democratic side. Any chance it's going to stay that way?

KEITH: It seems entirely possible. I mean, I guess it depends on your definition of big names. But we've got former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb. They are the two people that are acting most like potential candidates. They were actually in Iowa last week testing the waters. But they are far from household names. And so this is one of the challenges Clinton is up against. How do you run for president and act like you're not inevitable - because they really don't want to be considered inevitable. How do you do that when you don't have much competition or at least competition that most people have heard of before?

MARTIN: At least yet. As you said, Clinton is expected to head to Iowa after the big announcement, which, of course, has the first in the nation caucuses, which she did not win last time, right?

KEITH: That's right. And she didn't just not win, she really lost. She came in third. She came in behind both President Obama and John Edwards, who was running at the time. And in part, the reason she lost they said is because she didn't do Iowa the way you're supposed to do Iowa.

MARTIN: What does that mean?

KEITH: Well, that's sitting down in living rooms. That's having coffee with people. It's going small, which is exactly what they're trying to do this time. And also, President Obama changed the caucuses. He swept in, and he brought people to those caucuses who hadn't come to the before. The question is how does Hillary Clinton, without much competition, get people excited enough to show up to these caucuses? And why does that matter? Well, because in the general election, Iowa is a battleground state.

MARTIN: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who will be on the road covering the Clinton campaign for NPR. Thanks so much, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.