Clinton rivals open attacks on record

Hillary Clinton will hold her first campaign event in Iowa today after she formally announced that she is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

Clinton was travelling cross-country in a minivan nicknamed ‘Scooby’. A Clinton aide said the van is nicknamed after the Mystery Machine van in the 1970s animated television show, The Scooby Doo Show.

“This was her idea, and she’s been really excited about it since she came up with it,” long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin told a conference call.

Clinton made no mention of her potential Republican rivals when kicking off her second campaign for president.

Her rivals did not share her restraint. Rand Paul put Clinton at the centre of his first television ad, titled ‘Liberty, not Hillary’. On Twitter, Scott Walker fired off a series of messages describing Clinton as having a “Washington-knows-best mentality”. Jeb Bush derided the “Obama-Clinton foreign policy” in a video message.

US senator Marco Rubio of Florida told top donors yesterday that he will run for the White House because he is “uniquely qualified” to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 presidential race. He said Clinton is a leader from yesteryear, adding that the 2016 race will be a choice between the past and the future.

While there are serious policy differences among the dozen or so major Republicans considering a run for president, they appear to have all concluded there’s little downside in starting early when it comes to going after Clinton.

Even former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, could not resist a barb. “Hillary Clinton is just not trustworthy,” he said. “She’s a creature of Washington.”

Meantime, she hit the road — literally. Clinton left Sunday from her home in Chappaqua, New York, in a van headed for Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses. Clinton’s aides said Clinton was a passenger and the van was driven by the Secret Service.

Meanwhile, Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants who rode the anti-establishment Tea Party wave of 2010 to national prominence, was to formally announce his presidential bid later last night with a speech at Miami’s Freedom Tower.

That is where thousands of Cuban exiles fleeing the communist-run island in the 1960s were first registered by US authorities. Rubio is expected to make a muscular foreign policy a focal point of his campaign, portraying himself as the Republican most ready to handle threats to America.

Rubio’s support registers in single digits in opinion polls of the likely contenders in what is expected to be a crowded Republican presidential field. However, aides believe Rubio, who was on 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s shortlist for vice-president, will rise when voters take a closer look at him.


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