NEW YORK: Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling for a new era of shared prosperity, arguing that American workers can trust her to fight for them in a speech billed as her formal 2016 presidential campaign debut.
At an outdoor rally Saturday on New York City's Roosevelt Island, Clinton will portray herself as a fierce advocate for those left behind in the post-recession economy, detailing a lifetime of work on behalf of struggling families. She says her mother's difficult childhood inspired what she considers a calling.
Her campaign says that "tenacious fighter" message will be the foundation of her presidential bid, even as she takes pains to stay silent on political divisive issues, including two billed by Republicans as key to economic growth: a proposed trade deal with Pacific Rim nations and the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Long one of the most divisive figures in American politics, Clinton seeks to use the speech to present herself on her own terms and turn her politicized history into a strength. She lost her 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama.
"Her story, her life, is she is someone who has always been advocating and fighting for someone else," said Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign's communications director.
As part of an effort to emphasize Clinton's biography, her campaign released a video on Friday detailing her four decades in public service, starting with her work as a young lawyer at the Children's Defense Fund. After the Saturday speech, she'll embark on a tour of early-voting states, with events focused on her relationship with her mother and her father's background as a veteran and small businessman.
"You have to get up off the floor and you keep fighting," Clinton says in the video, discussing her failed 1993 attempt to overhaul the nation's health care system during the administration of her husband, President Bill Clinton. "Everyday Americans need a champion."
While Clinton has been particularly vocal on immigration and other issues important to key parts of the Democratic base, she's stayed silent on policy questions that have divided the party since announcing in April her intention to seek the White House again.
Her remarks come in the midst of a contentious debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal backed by Obama and opposed by organized labor, liberals and others who say such pacts cost the U.S. jobs. On Friday, dozens of union-backed congressional Democrats voted against Obama's request for "fast track" negotiating authority, which would let him propose trade agreements that Congress can ratify or reject but not amend.
Clinton is not expected to roll out specific policy proposals in her address. Aides say that will come in the following weeks on issues that include college affordability, jobs and the economy. She plans to give a policy address almost every week during the summer and fall, Palmieri said.
Clinton will be joined by her husband and their daughter, Chelsea, at Saturday's rally, marking the first time the family has been seen together in public since Clinton launched her campaign.