After being coy about it last year, Hillary Clinton has announced she will run for president in the 2016 elections, which will mark her second bid.
The 67-year-old former New York senator and Democratic party leader, a favorite among members and supporters of the group and wife of former President Bill Clinton, announced the news on her website, hillaryclinton.com, on Sunday amid an ongoing controversy over her use of personal emails while she served as Secretary of State.
In a video message posted on her website, Hillary appears in person, wearing a navy blazer over a bright red top, paired with a gold necklace and matching earrings, after several people, including a pregnant woman and her partner, are shown expressing their hopes and plans for the future.
"I'm getting ready to do something too—I'm running for president," Hillary says. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by—you can get ahead and stay ahead because when families are strong, America is strong."
"So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote," she says. "Because it's your time. And I hope you'll join me on this journey"
Reuters had recently reported that Hillary would reveal her intent to run on Sunday and her confirmation came soon after John Podesta, the chairman of her campaign, revealed the news in an email message to Democratic Party donors and other supporters.
"She is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters," NBC News quoted him as saying. "There will be a formal kickoff event next month, and we look forward to seeing you there."
If she wins her party's primary and the November 2016 presidential election, Hillary, who lost to now-President Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic party elections, would become the first female president of the United States in its 238-year history. He is set to end his second and final run as the 44th U.S. leader.
"When you ask about the importance of having a woman president, absolutely it's important, for, yes, symbolic reasons—symbols are important; it is important who and what we choose to elevate, and to celebrate," Hillary and Bill's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, told Elle magazine in a recent interview. "And one of our core values in this country is that we are the land of equal opportunity, but when equal hasn't yet included gender, there is a fundamental challenge there that, I believe, having our first woman president—whenever that is—will help resolve."
Jonathan Alcorn/ZUMA Press
Hillary had said in September that she was thinking about a presidential bid but had not yet made a decision about it. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported she had leased two floors of office space in Brooklyn that would serve as her campaign headquarters.
Her announcement comes amid an ongoing controversy over her use of a personal email account for business purposes while she served as secretary of state under Obama between 2009 and 2013. She cited "convenience" as the reason she didn't use two separate accounts, saying at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in March, "I now, looking back, think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning."
About half of the more than 60,000 emails sent and received were personal. The U.S. House committee has summoned her for an interview over the issue and in December, Hillary turned over work-related emails to the State Department. She had said that she had asked that they release them.
About 300 messages were turned over to a House committee investigating a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Hillary left the State Department after facing criticism, mainly from Republicans, over her handling of the deadly incident. At the 2014 National Auto Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, Hillary called the attack her "biggest regret" as Secretary of State.
Who else is running for president?
Well, there's Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who announced his own 2016 presidential bid last week, on his campaign website. The 52-year-old was among the strongest critics of Hillary's handling of Benghazi, citing what he said was her "failure" to provide the U.S. officials with adequate security.
Clinton is the third confirmed official who has announced a presidential bid in the 2016 election. The first was Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. The 44-year-old revealed his intent to run last month, on Twitter.
How popular are the presidential candidates online?