Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Hillary Clinton to launch White House run Sunday

An Clinton official told Reuters the long anticipated announcement would take place on social media and through a video

Hillary Clinton will announce her second run for the presidency on Sunday, kicking off her campaign as the Democrats' best hope of fending off a crowded field of lesser-known Republican rivals and retaining the White House.

Clinton returns to the campaign trail seven years after losing the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 to Barack Obama.

She has been a high-profile figure in American politics for more than two decades since her husband, Bill Clinton, won the presidency in 1992, and her fame still eclipses her other likely Democratic contenders and Republican opponents.

Her advisers, including her husband, have urged her to take nothing for granted, arguing voters would be repelled by anything that resembles a pre-ordained coronation.

A Democrat close to the Clinton camp told Reuters on Friday the former U.S. senator and secretary of state would announce her long-anticipated plans through video and social media.

After the announcement, she will travel to early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. 

Clinton, 67, has sounded out potential campaign themes during public appearances, casting herself as both a love-filled new grandmother with a vested concern in the future and a wise former diplomat who understands how countries thrive and fail.

In contrast to her 2008 campaign, Clinton has shown signs she will not play down how being a woman distinguishes her from the 44 men who have previously become president.

She has filled speeches with paeans to the moral and economic importance of gender equality and women's rights, arguing that economic growth, the health of the middle class and the stability of foreign peace treaties all hinge on reducing gender discrimination.

There are a dozen or so likely Republican contenders vying for the presidency, many still relatively unknown. Clinton has a different task: reassuring voters who already like her, and wooing those who do not.

Only two percent of Americans say they have never heard of her, according to a Gallup poll last month, a level of name recognition exceeding that of Vice President Joe Biden, a name unknown to a tenth of Americans.

Her nearest likely rivals for the Democratic nomination, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and Jim Webb, the former U.S. senator from Virginia, struggle to get a fraction of Clinton's media coverage, favorable poll numbers and donations.

Clinton's use of social media to announce her White House run amounts to the adoption of tactics employed by Obama in 2008 to raise large sums through small donations and appeal to young voters.

Still, Clinton's biggest obstacle may be her own image.

She has struggled to get past accusations that she is too secretive — reinforced most recently by the revelation earlier this year that she went against federal recommendations to use an official email account while at the State Department and instead used her private server.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that she was even or only slightly ahead of some Republican contenders like libertarian Sen. Rand Paul. Most polls in recent months have shown her with a substantial lead over likely Republican contenders.

Al Jazeera and Reuters

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