Parents were the hot accessory in campaign ads during last year’s midterm elections, and it looks like the trend will continue in the 2016 race. Last month Chris Christie launched his campaign with a video about how his mother made him the straight-talking man he is today, and on Sunday night Hillary Clinton posted two gauzy ads about how she was inspired by her mom overcoming a rough childhood. “We’re going to make sure everyone knows who Hillary Clinton really is — who she fights for and what has motivated her lifelong commitment to children and families,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. “Since Day One, we’ve planned for a competitive primary with Hillary herself working to earn every vote and, ultimately, the nomination. This is the natural next step.”
The two spots are part of a $2 million TV ad buy and will begin running in Iowa and New Hampshire on Tuesday. According to the New York Times, the ads were shot two months ago and are not a response to rumors that Vice-President Joe Biden may enter the race. Clinton had already reserved air time in the fall, and aides told the paper that they always planned to snatch up some time in the summer as well, to define Clinton’s campaign before the Republicans overtook the airwaves.
Clinton often speaks about her late mother on the campaign trail, and the first spot, “Dorothy,” describes how she was abandoned as a child but managed to survive and raise a loving family of her own thanks to the kindness of others. (It also subtly highlights that while Clinton is part of a political dynasty, her parents weren’t, unlike some other candidates.) “I think about all the Dorothys, all over America who fight for their families, who never give up,” Clinton says. “That’s why I’m doing this, that’s why I’ve always done this, for all the Dorothys.”
The second ad, “Family,” focuses on some of the lesser-known aspects of Clinton’s biography. It also notes that she “joined the cabinet of the man who defeated her because when your president calls, you serve.” Bill Clinton only makes two cameos, in a photo from the ‘70s and a recent shot of the Clintons with their granddaughter. “I believe that when families are strong, America is strong,” she concludes. “It’s your time!” (To make Hillary the first female president, presumably.)