Hillary Clinton's First Campaign Rally Is Going to Be Interesting

June 12th 2015

Sarah Gray

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will kickoff her campaign Saturday with her first major rally on Roosevelt Island in New York City. This speech will be the first large-scale appeal to voters since launching her campaign back in April.

Clinton has tried to keep a low profile the past few months -- holding mostly small meet-and-greets and gatherings in key states and delivering well-received speeches about mass incarceration and voting rights. Her rally Saturday will be used to reintroduce her to the public through a new lens: Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Clinton's mother. Rodham died four years ago, and her life story left a lasting impression on her daughter. Rodham's struggles growing up included an abusive family, getting sent to live with her grandparents, and eventually leaving home at 14 to work as a nanny. Her mother's struggles as well as moments of kindness that shaped her instilled in her daughter a desire to work to improve the lives of children, families, and everyday Americans.

"She is a well-known figure, but when you're asking the American people to support you as president, even if it is for the second time, there is no skipping of steps," communications director Jennifer Palmieri told NPR. "If you want to understand Hillary Clinton, and what has motivated her career of fighting for kids and families, her mother is a big part of the story. The example she learned from her mother's story is critical to knowing what motivated Hillary Clinton to first get involved in public service, and why people can count on her to fight for them and their families now."

Clinton has spent decades in the national spotlight as a first lady, senator and secretary of state -- and under public scrutiny through a variety of scandals. Saturday's speech will be important to show a side of Clinton that many may not know, reintroduce herself to voters, and make the case for her second campaign for president.

The upcoming speech will follow her "It is your time," theme, and will explain how she plans to help a struggling middle-class. Clinton is also expected to lay out her “foundational document” -- or policy goals. Thus far Clinton's campaign has hinted at tackling issues such as mental health, drug addiction, the student loan debt crisis, voting rights and mass incarceration.

It also comes during a time when Clinton's poll numbers are slipping, according to a CNN poll. "A growing number of people say she is not honest and trustworthy (57%, up from 49% in March), less than half feel she cares about people like them (47%, down from 53% last July) and more people now feel Clinton does not inspire confidence (50%, up from 42% last March)," CNN reports. These numbers demonstrate the importance of sharing her mother's story with the public. 

“The question of the campaign is, who is the candidate in the race who understands what my life is like, what the problems are, has solutions, and is going to hang in and fight for me everyday and get things done,” Palmieri explained to Politico. “There’s not any candidate that’s better qualified than her to be that fighter for people.”