Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is airing her first campaign TV ads Tuesday. They are playing in Iowa, and fellow early-voting state New Hampshire.
The commercials highlight Clinton’s mother’s difficult childhood and the candidate’s pre-Washington career. While campaigning Clinton often speaks of her late mother and baby granddaughter.
Donna Hoffman heads the Department of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa. She says the ads attempt to soften Clinton’s persona at a time when rivals’ are constructing a less flattering portrait of her.
"I see these ads as a reaction to some of the polling that some of the campaigns have been digesting, not only in the early states, but also nationally. In terms of, 'What do voters need to know about Hillary Clinton?'" says Hoffman. "And their answer to that question--in order to get those numbers up--is to reintroduce her to the electorate."
The Washington Post reports the ads cost $2 million and were produced by longtime Democratic media advisers Mandy Grunwald and Jim Margolis.
As Clinton attempts to maintain her front runner status Vice President Joe Biden is perhaps considering joining the race. A New York Times column over the weekend reported that the vice president's late son, Beau, urged his father to run not long before he died.
Hoffman says Biden is a talented and natural campaigner; but points out the vice president faces many challenges if he enters the race at this stage.
"In terms of fund raisers and consultants, people to staff an organization in the state (of Iowa,) a lot of those people have been snatched up by other campaigns so he'd have to make inroads to get an organization and staff together," says Hoffman.
During the 2008 Iowa Democratic Caucuses—which then-Senator Barack Obama won—Hillary Clinton finished third and Biden took fifth place. Sixth place went to "uncommitted," meaning a grouping of caucus goers who chose not to side with a viable candidate.