Saturday 18 November 2017

Hillary Clinton: Hard to be low-key when the world knows your face

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

Frances Kerry

Hillary Clinton may have wanted to strike a modest note with her low-key announcement that she is getting into the 2016 U.S. presidential race. But it's hard to play "everyday American" when much of the world knows your face.

Clinton's launch website, unveiled on Sunday as she formally entered the fray as a Democratic candidate, shows her with a paper coffee cup talking to some senior citizens around a bare table. She barely features in an accompanying video message that shows ordinary people in their homes and gardens.

But the carefully crafted message of normalcy was barely hours old before high-level, ringing endorsements for her White House run came in from abroad, a reminder that Clinton - as a former secretary of state, a former senator and a former first lady - is extremely well-known on the global stage.

"Good Luck @Hillary Clinton," tweeted French Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls, linking to her YouTube video.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, wrote a lengthy good luck note in Germany's top-selling Bild daily, complete with strong praise for Clinton's ability to deal with pressing world issues.

"I congratulate her on her decision to run for America and I wish her success," he wrote, reminiscing about his time working with Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009-2013.

"Hillary Clinton ... has also proven she has sure instincts in world crises - from Afghanistan to the Middle East. She knows Europe and understands our way of thinking," he said. "With Hillary Clinton, there is a woman running who is a master of the craft of politics like few other people. Above all in foreign affairs," he added.

The endorsements from the normally cautious Steinmeier and Valls were highly unusual since foreign governments often refrain from talking about election politics of other countries. And they may not be wholly useful - given that Clinton's Republican opponents are likely to take aim at her record and at her star power.

"Everyday Americans need a champion. I want to be that champion," Clinton says in her campaign message.

But ducking celebrity will not be easy. News of her announcement was on the front page of many foreign newspaper websites, ranging from The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia to Italy's La Repubblica.


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