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Candidate Clinton: Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential Campaign

From Blazing Trails to Weathering Attacks, Clinton Rises to the Challenge


Candidate Clinton: Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential Campaign

Senator Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Presidential Debates in Las Vegas

Ethan Miller / Getty Images
Updated May 05, 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton first ran for public office while still living in the White House with her husband, US President Bill Clinton.

After the couple purchased a home in Chappaqua, NY in 1999, near the end of his second term, she announced her candidacy for the the Senate seat of the state of New York in February 2000, stepping down from the duties of First Lady at that time.

Hillary's New York State of Mind

She won 54% of the vote, easily beating her opponent, New York Congressman Rick Lazio, who received 42%. In 2001, she became New York State's junior senator.

New Year's Resolution: Run for President

After winning re-election to the Senate in 2004, Clinton entered the 2008 presidential race with her announcement on January 20, 2007. At that time, Clinton appeared to be the clear front-runner.

The Politics of Gender

Well-situated to become the nation's first female president, Clinton understood that the road ahead would not only break new ground, but also reopen the debate as to whether a woman could be elected President.

She encountered a number of gender based attacks and the use of the "B" word. During the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, she acknowledged that what she was doing was aiming "toward the highest, hardest glass ceiling," and joked about wearing an asbestos pantsuit to withstand the heat.

Inevitable...or Insufferable?

As the 2008 presidential primaries drew closer, many believed that Clinton's place at the top of the Democratic ticket was inevitable. Her own confidence level seemed perhaps a bit too high in a November 26, 2007 interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric.

Yet she saw her poll numbers slip as her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, began to establish himself as a strong and formidable candidate.

Oprah as the Opposition

Then celebrity talk show host Oprah Winfrey entered the picture, endorsing Obama and agreeing to campaign for him in three key states in early December 2007. Clinton's 'inevitability' seemed in question.

Playing the Family Card

As Oprah brought in tens of thousands of women and men to Obama events in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire the second weekend of December, Clinton relied on the intergenerational appeal of having her mother and daughter by her side in an effort to reach out to women voters.

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