TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Makes First Attacks on GOP

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the Women in the World Conference on April 23, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the Women in the World conference on April 23, 2015, in New York City

"It is not leadership," she said

Hillary Clinton aimed the first substantial attacks of her new candidacy at Republican policies during a speech in New York City on Thursday, criticizing the GOP on immigration, health care and the delayed nomination of Loretta Lynch to Attorney General.

“There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life rather than risk ire of talk radio,” Clinton said at the annual Women in the World conference in Manhattan.

“There are those who offer themselves as leaders who even play politics with the nomination of our nation’s chief law-enforcement officer and victims of human-rights trafficking,” Clinton continued to raucous applause from the friendly audience, referring to the months-long delay in Congress over Lynch’s nomination, which ended Thursday.

“This is not the way to move America forward. It’s not going to create a single job, raise anyone’s wages or strengthen our families,” she said.

Clinton’s keynote address Thursday night at the conference in New York City had been planned before she launched her campaign, a spokesperson for her campaign said.

With the second week of her candidacy reaching its end, Clinton has thus far avoided attacking Republicans and instead focused on her small-grain campaign rollout in Iowa and New Hampshire, where she spoken at roundtables, visited factories and local businesses.

Read more: How New Hampshire’s Women Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton

When Republicans last weekend impugned Clinton for controversies surrounding her philanthropies acceptance of foreign donations, she called the attacks “distractions.”

Clinton said earlier this week in New Hampshire she wants to rise above partisan attacks during her campaign. “I am tired of people running to elect their fellow citizens by being nasty to each other,” she said at a house party in Claremont, New Hampshire. “That doesn’t solve a problem. Enough with the attacks and the anger, let’s find answers together and figure out what we’re going to do.”

Now, however, as her campaign ramps up, Clinton appears ready to offer more direct criticism over GOP policies.

“We have to have leaders who recognize that the time has come. There are those who offer themselves as leaders who see nothing wrong with denying women equal pay,” Clinton said, “or would defund the country’s leading provider of family planning, and want to let health insurance companies charge women once again just because of our gender” — a reference to Republican efforts to defund Obamacare.

“It isn’t leadership,” she said.

TIME Congress

Hillary Clinton Called to Testify Before House Benghazi Committee

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Bebeto Matthews—AP In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, Hillary Rodham Clinton is seen in New York.

The Presidential candidate was called to testify the week of May 18

(WASHINGTON)—The chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, has called former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to testify next month, setting up a high-profile showdown over Clinton’s use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina says he wants Clinton to testify the week of May 18 and again before June 18. The first hearing would focus on Clinton’s use of private emails; the second on the September 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Gowdy’s action comes a day after the GOP-led panel signaled its final report could slip to next year, just months before the presidential election. Clinton is the leading Democratic candidate.

TIME

Clinton Allies Knock Down Donor Allegations, New Questions Pop Up

Hillary Clinton attends the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on April 22, 2015.
Win McNamee—Getty Images Hillary Clinton attends the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on April 22, 2015.

Hillary Clinton’s allies are pushing back against the suggestion in a new book that donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced the handling of the sale of U.S. uranium mines to a Russian-backed company.

The new book, Clinton Cash: the Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, says that Hillary Clinton failed in 2010 to block the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company while people with financial and strategic interests in the sale were making millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation, a philanthropy run by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

The suggestion of outside influence over U.S. decisionmaking is based on little evidence — the allegations are presented as questions rather than proof. The deal’s approval was the result of an extensive interagency process that required the assent of at least nine different officials and agencies. A former State Department official who participated in the deal’s approval told TIME that Clinton did not weigh in on the uranium sale one way or the other, and her campaign calls the allegations in the book “absurd conspiracy theories.”

But the book’s dark suggestions reflect the growing problem Clinton faces in her run for the White House in 2016 as more and more details of the foundation’s fundraising activities present the appearance of impropriety and lack of transparency during her time as Secretary of State.

One chapter of the book, written by conservative author Peter Schweizer and obtained by TIME, focuses on an obscure deal that had been years in the making. Schweizer says Secretary Clinton failed to block the Russian State Atomic Nuclear Agency (Rosatom), a Kremlin-controlled nuclear agency, from purchasing a controlling stake in an American Uranium mining concern, Uranium One. The company’s chairman, Ian Telfer, was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. Several other Clinton Foundation donors stood to gain from the agreement as well.

Because the proposed sale involved the transfer of potentially strategic U.S. assets, the Uranium One transaction was subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency panel that comprises powerful federal agencies. In prior years, Clinton had urged the committee to take a hawkish view of deals involving U.S. strategic assets, and Schweizer says that should have inclined her against the Rosatom purchase. “Despite a long record of publicly opposing such deals Hillary didn’t object,” Schweizer writes in the version of the chapter obtained by TIME. “Why the apparent reversal? Could it be because shareholders involved in the transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives? Or because her husband had profited from lucrative speaking deals arranged by companies associated with those who stood to profit from the deal?”

The State Department’s role in approving the deal was part of an extensive bureaucratic process, and the chapter offers no indication of Hillary Clinton’s personal involvement in, or even knowledge of, the deliberations. State has just one vote on the nine-member committee, which also includes the departments of Defense, Treasury and Energy. Disagreements are traditionally handled at the staff level, and if they are not resolved, they are escalated to deputies at the relevant agencies. If the deputies can’t resolve the dispute, the issues can be elevated to the Cabinet Secretary level and, if needed, to the President for a decision. The official chairman of CFIUS is the Treasury Secretary, not the Secretary of State.

Before purchasing a controlling stake in Uranium One, the Russian conglomerate also had to get approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency outside of the State Department’s purview, as well as Utah’s nuclear regulator. It also received the sign-off of Canada’s foreign investment review agency. The deal itself was the outgrowth of a diplomatic initiative launched by the Administration of George W. Bush to expand trade opportunities between Russia and the U.S., including in the area of nuclear power.

One official involved in the process said Clinton had nothing to do with the decision in the Uranium One case. Jose Hernandez, who as former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs was the State Department’s principal representative on the committee, rejected the notion that Clinton’s foundation ties had any bearing on the deal. “Secretary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter,” he told TIME. A spokesperson for Hillary for America, Josh Schwerin, also attacked the suggestions made in the book. The transaction “went through the usual process and the official responsible for managing CFIUS reviews has stated that the Secretary did not intervene with him,” Schwerin says, “This book is twisting previously known facts into absurd conspiracy theories.”

Throughout the new book, Schweizer suggests that Clinton used her authority as Secretary of State to intervene on behalf of companies that donated to her family’s foundation. Clinton has sought to distance herself from the charges on the campaign trail, calling the GOP claims “distractions.”

Even if Clinton was not involved in approving the deal with the Russian company, the book does raise more questions about the Clinton Foundation’s transparency regarding its donors and shows that the issue will continue to dog her candidacy. The book reports that Telfer, the Uranium One chairman, donated $2.1 million to a Clinton Foundation subsidiary through a charity he controls around the time the purchase was being finalized, an assertion TIME has verified through a review of public records. Those donations do not appear on the foundation’s disclosure of donors. Telfer is listed for smaller donations he made directly to the parent foundation.

In 2008 the Clinton Foundation and President Barack Obama’s transition team signed a memorandum of understanding about the foundation’s activities to allay congressional concerns over potential conflicts of interest stemming from its donors as Clinton was preparing to become Obama’s Secretary of State. “In anticipation of Senator Clinton’s nomination and confirmation as Secretary of State, the foundation will publish its contributors this year,” the agreement states. “During any service by Senator Clinton as Secretary of State, the foundation will publish annually the names of new contributors.”

Exempt from that relationship were an array of Clinton Foundation subsidiaries, including the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, a Canadian-based charity that works to establish “social enterprises” in the developing world. Telfer is one of three directors of a charity called the Fernwood Foundation, according to Canadian tax records dug up by Schweizer and verified by TIME. Fernwood has donated $2.1 million to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which at one point passed through as much as 88% of its donations to the main Clinton Foundation, Schweizer writes. Schweizer alleges that Telfer had 1.6 million shares in Uranium One and profited hugely off the deal, a claim that couldn’t be independently verified.

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership is listed as having given contributed more than $25 million to the foundation according to its online disclosures, but the foundation does not list any of the Giustra Partnership’s individual donors. When contacted by TIME, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation deferred comment to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Without a full account of donors to the foundations, allegations like the one in Schweizer’s book will follow Clinton’s candidacy even as she seeks to remain above the fray. The campaign, for its part, will continue to do its best to discredit Schweizer’s book and distance itself from Republican attacks.

“While Republicans focus their efforts on attacks, Hillary Clinton is going to continue to focus on how to help everyday Americans get ahead and stay ahead,” the Clinton campaign said in a memo circulated Tuesday night. “That’s what her campaign is about, and no book — especially one as discredited as this one — is going to change that.”

Read next: How New Hampshire’s Women Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton

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TIME Hillary Clinton

Clinton Campaign Leans On Liberal Groups to Mount Attack on Critical Book

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Jim Cole—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to students and faculty during a campaign stop at New Hampshire Technical Institute on April 21, 2015, in Concord, N.H.

A memo circulated by the Clinton campaign relies heavily on liberal media reports

Less than two weeks into Hillary Clinton’s second presidential campaign, the candidate and her Republican foes are already in the midst of an information war by proxy.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign circulated a memo Tuesday that aims to discredit the author of a soon-to-be published “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” by linking author Peter Schweizer to the Clinton family’s conservative foes.

The main source of information for the Clinton campaign’s memo: Two left-leaning organizations backed by Clinton allies. “We wanted to share with you what we have learned about this book, the author and the false accusations he’s making so that you can help us shed light on the truth and debunk the myths,” said the Clinton campaign in the memo. “The book was backed by a Koch Brothers-linked organization and a billionaire family that is bankrolling Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign,” the Clinton’s note continues.

The memo, written by the campaign’s national press secretary Brian Fallon, relies heavily on reporting from an outside website set up by Clinton loyalists long accustomed to supporting the Clinton cause: Media Matters, a left-leaning website founded by Clinton ally David Brock, and ThinkProgress, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which was founded by Clinton campaign chairman and former White House chief of staff John Podesta. In an interview earlier this week, Podesta dismissed the book as “a bunch of conspiracy theories.”

The Clinton campaign’s use of the outside groups is a first glimpse of how the official Clinton campaign plans to use a coalition of technically independent groups that progressive donors hope will elevate Clinton to the White House. Under current campaign finance rules, Clinton cannot privately coordinate spending on political messaging with either Media Matters or the Center for American Progress Action Fund. But all of the groups can make use of each other’s published work.

“These types of books are standard fare in political campaigns now, and this one is clearly part of a coordinated Republican strategy. But this is not the first work of partisan-fueled fiction about Hillary Clinton’s record, and we know it will not be the last,” said Fallon in the memo. “Clinton Cash” purports to find instances in which U.S. policy benefited companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. It points to alleged conflicts of interest in which Clinton is said to have used her office in the Obama Administration to specifically aid donors to her philanthropy.

The Media Matters report cited in the memo points out that Schweizer is president of the Government Accountability Institute, which has received funding from major donors to the Republican party and other conservative causes. The memo goes on to note that some Republicans, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have received pre-release briefings about the book. Schweizer is a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution and a former speechwriting consultant to former President George W. Bush.

During her listening tour in New Hampshire on Monday, Clinton aimed to rise above the fray surrounding her foundation, calling the book and the Republican rigamarole around it a “distraction.” But the circulation of the memo shows that the Clinton campaign and its allies are willing to get into a nasty fight over Clinton’s record—just from behind the scenes.

“While Republicans focus their efforts on attacks, Hillary Clinton is going to continue to focus on how to help everyday Americans get ahead and stay ahead,” says the memo. “That’s what her campaign is about, and no book—especially one as discredited as this one—is going to change that.”

With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

TIME Hillary Clinton

How New Hampshire’s Women Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Jim Cole—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to students and faculty during a campaign stop at New Hampshire Technical Institute on April 21, 2015, in Concord, N.H.

The Granite State has long been receptive to female politicians

After Hillary Clinton had shaken off most of the press corps shadowing her across New Hampshire on Tuesday, she arrived at a quaint house in downtown Concord just blocks from the golden-domed state capitol. Inside, in her wheelchair, sat the matron of New Hampshire presidential politics: 94-year-old former state senator Mary Louise Hancock. “How are you, my gosh, it’s great to be here,” Clinton said, greeting her. “I am so happy to be here.” Hancock replied: “Even if it’s not true, I’m glad you said it.”

Hancock was one of the New Hampshire’s early woman state senators and remains a giant in the state’s Democratic Party politics, and she’s given Clinton her blessing in the primary. She is just one key female ally to the growing Clinton operation in the Granite State, which has been safe Clinton country since the state boosted Bill to the Democratic nomination for President in 1992. Hillary or Bill, or both, go back nearly every year, and they stay in close contact with long-established allies in the state. When Hillary Clinton campaigns this year, she will count on a steady network of female Democratic supporters like Hancock.

In her first trip to New Hampshire, Clinton has already made good use of a large network of women in the state. On her first evening in New Hampshire this week on Monday, she held a private meeting in the home of Sylvia Larsen, the former state senate majority leader. Kathy Sullivan, the former chairwoman of the Democratic Party, was there, as was Terie Norelli, the former speaker of the state house of representatives, several people who attended the meeting told TIME. The next day at Hancock’s house, Clinton greeted former state first lady Susan Lynch, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund president Juliana Eades and Democratic operative Karen Hicks.

New Hampshire has long been a good place for female politicians. In 1999, it was the first state to have a female governor and women heading up both chambers of the state legislature at the same time. In 2009, its state senate became the first legislative body in the U.S. to have a female majority, 13-11. In 2013, it sent an all-female delegation to Washington, and currently both U.S. Senators (Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and Kelly Ayotte, a Republican) and Governor Maggie Hassan are women.

“There is no bias in new Hampshire. Women can do very well here and have a track record of doing very well in New Hampshire,” said Jim Demers, a Democratic strategist who co-chaired Obama’s 2008 campaign in New Hampshire and is now organizing for Clinton. “It just so happens we’ve elected a lot of women in the state because they were the better candidate.”

Despite Clinton’s deep connections with Democratic women, she’ll encounter skepticism among Independent voters in the state, who are loath to cede the state in an uncontested primary. A strong movement in the state urging Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for President hasn’t lost much steam even though Warren has repeatedly said she won’t launch a campaign. According to a recent poll, Warren still commands a healthy 23% of support, compared to Clinton’s 45%.

“History proves that no candidate in New Hampshire is inevitable,” said Terry Shumaker, a longtime Clinton friend and supporter. “If Hillary or any other candidate came here and ran a perfunctory campaign, they would likely lose the primary. But she’s been in three New Hampshire campaigns, so I know she won’t do that.”

Clinton has been busy over the last year laying a strong groundwork for her campaign. In 2014, she went back to New Hampshire to help Shaheen’s re-election campaign. Shaheen was one of the few Democrats up for re-election who wasn’t swept up by the Republican tide in 2014. Since then, Shaheen’s team, including Mike Vlacich, Harrell Kirstein and Kari Thurman, have all jumped ship to Clinton.

New Hampshire’s female-friendliness can be traced back to two quirks in the statehouse’s organization. New Hampshire pays its legislators a pittance: state senators and representatives in the Granite State receive $100 a year, and they get none of the per diem expenses that other states offer. That means that politicians in the state have to either be very comfortable financially to begin with or have part-time jobs. For many stay-at-home mothers in past decades, that made it easy to be a state legislator. Once a first group of women had blazed a trail, that made it easier for women today to get elected.

The state also has a famously wide political field: with 400 members in the state’s house of representatives, most legislators represent a couple thousand voters in their districts. With a larger pool, more women have access to political leadership, and some say there’s a well-established school board–to-statehouse pipeline.

“Being a state legislator in New Hampshire might not be that big of a leap from belonging to the PTA,” said Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood. “The political pipeline for women here is well developed.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Continues Listening Tour in New Hampshire

US-POLITICS-CAMPAIGN-CLINTON
Don Emert—AFP/Getty Images Hillary Clinton participates in a round table discussion with Whitney Brothers management and employees on April 20, 2015 in Keene, NH.

KEENE, N.H.—Hillary Clinton responded to renewed controversy on Monday about the Clinton Foundation’s dealings, even as she sought to focus attention on her conversations with New Hampshire voters and a broad-brush economic vision.

“We’re back into the political scene, and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distractions and I’m ready for it,” Clinton told reporters. “I know that comes unfortunately with the territory.”

“It is, I think, worth noting that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me,” she continued. “They wouldn’t have anything to talk about if I weren’t in the race. But I am in the race, and hopefully we’ll get onto the issues, and I look forward to that.”

The foundation’s fundraising has been in the spotlight thanks in part to an upcoming book by former George W. Bush consultant Peter Schweizer called Clinton Cash, which purports to find instances in which U.S. policy benefited companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State.

Republican presidential candidates lambasted Clinton during events in New Hampshire over the weekend, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul saying the book’s findings would include “big news” that would “shock people.” (The book is not yet publicly available.)

But at her events Monday, Clinton kept the focus on her own campaign in the Granite State. “I want to hear from people in New Hampshire about what’s on their minds,” she said.

The second week of Clinton’s candidacy began much like the preceding week in Iowa, with small events and roundtable meetings with voters. On Monday she began with a tour of a factory run by the Whitney Brothers, where employees were building blocks, furniture and play toys for infants and toddlers. Then she sat at a roundtable in the company’s warehouse, fielding questions from company employees.

As expected, Clinton did not lay out any new policy positions, instead speaking in broader strokes about her initial goals for her small-event and voter-oriented campaign and her vision of a more inclusive economy.

“I want people to know that I’m listening, and that I’m accessible, and I’m running a campaign about them,” Clinton said. “That’s about the needs of the people of New Hampshire. That’s the kind of campaign I want to run.”

She reiterated comments she made last week during her Iowa events, when she lamented that hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than middle class Americans, thanks to low capital gains taxes. Clinton again sounded her support for a constitutional amendment to rein in money in politics and suggested increased regulation of the financial market.

“If it’s just playing back-and-forth in the global market place to get one-tenth of one percent advantage, maybe we should not let that go on because that’s at the root of economic problems we all remember painfully in 2008,” she said.

Clinton will be under pressure to clarify her views as the race continues. Her likely challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination are already staking out firm positions to her left and beginning to attack Clinton.

Just hours before the event in Keene, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley contrasted himself with Clinton, who last week articulated new views on immigration reform and same sex marriage.

“Do we have the ability as a party to lead by our principles or are we going to conduct polls every time we try to determine where the middle is on any given day?” he said in an interview with NPR on Monday.

New Hampshire has been Clinton-friendly country since 1992, when Bill came off a second place finish in the state to win the nomination. Hillary celebrated her birthday in New Hampshire in October 1991 campaigning for her husband, and many of New Hampshire’s Democratic leadership are firm Clinton allies. Hillary’s surprise comeback win in the Granite State in 2008 prolonged the primary battle against Barack Obama for months.

Several former aides from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign for Senate last year have joined Clinton’s New Hampshire camp, along with the senator’s husband, Bill, was co-chair of Clinton’s 2007 campaign in New Hampshire. Hillary campaigned with incumbent Gov. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire last year.

During her roundtable discussion, Clinton spoke about expanding pre-kindergarten education and the importance of early childhood programs while sitting in a warehouse for young children’s furniture and toys soon to be shipped to classrooms.

“Of course, it’s no accident that I’m at a place whose customer market is between six months and six years,” Clinton said.

She also emphasized the importance of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., remarking that many of the machines in the Whitney Brothers facility are foreign-made. “How do we get back into basic production again so we can resume our lead in manufacturing,” Clinton said. “You walk around here you see these machines from Italy or Germany or wherever else they’re from. Why? Why aren’t we producing these machines?”

Her tour of the Keene facility will be followed on Wednesday by a roundtable at a community college in Concord.

In both states, her small-scale events have been hemmed in by a large press corps. Clinton and the seven Whitney Brothers employees who sat with her were greatly outnumbered by the 70 or so members of the press gathered to watch her speak on Monday.

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush Narrowly Leads Tight Republican Presidential Race, Poll Says

Former Florida Governor Bush at MaryAnne's Diner in Derry, N.H. on April 17, 2015.
Brooks Kraft—Corbis for TIME Former Florida Governor Bush at MaryAnne's Diner in Derry, N.H. on April 17, 2015.

But no one has broken out of the GOP pack

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is enjoying a slight lead over his likely Republican rivals for President, according to a new poll, but the nominating contest remains tight with no overwhelming front runner.

The news came as Bush announced he would travel to Germany, Poland and Estonia early next month, giving him a chance to burnish his foreign policy credentials as he prepares to formally launch his bid for the presidency.

The CNN/ORC survey found that 17% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support Bush in the primary race, while 12% back Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who both recently launched their 2016 campaigns, each drew 11%. Only 4% said they back New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who placed second in the poll as recently as last fall.

Bush also leads the field in several key attributes, according to the poll, including the candidate voters see as having the right experience and the best chance to defeat the Democratic nominee.

In contrast to the Republican race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who formally announced her candidacy this month, dominates the Democratic lineup. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 69% said they support Clinton, while 11% said they backed Vice President Joe Biden — who hasn’t signaled he’s running — 5% support Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and 3% backed former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

TIME Hillary Clinton

How Hillary Clinton is Trying to Win Over Liberal Critics  

Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event at the Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, on Apr. 14, 2015.
Michael B. Thomas—AFP/Getty Images Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event at the Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, on Apr. 14, 2015.

If you can't defeat them, entreat them

During her first bid for president, Hillary Clinton was attacked for supporting the Iraq War and being too cozy with Wall Street. She flew in a helicopter between events in Iowa and mostly appeared at massive rallies, where her distance from voters was in plain sight.

And in June 2008, the nomination went to then-Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate viewed by many Democrats as more liberal and populist.

As she began her second campaign for the Democratic nomination, there are signs that Clinton will not let the same mistake happen twice. Rather than beginning with a big speech, Clinton embarked on a low-key road trip to Iowa, where she met voters in intimate groups and hit all the notes in the populist songbook.

She criticized Wall Street and called for reducing the influence of money in politics. She endorsed expanded pre-kindergarten programs, expansive immigration reform and gay rights, and she decried income inequality and economic barriers to everyday Americans.

“There is something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses, or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here,” Clinton said in Monticello, Iowa, on Tuesday. “We have to figure out in this country how to get back on the right track.”

Clinton’s rhetoric signals a leftward turn for the 67-year-old candidate. Rather than run her campaign as an experienced moderate, as she did eight years ago, Clinton is flexing her liberal credentials and reaching out to the Democratic Party’s restive progressive base.

She is also protecting her left flank. Clinton is already being questioned by potential opponents and progressive groups who hope Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would run for president. By appealing to progressives, she hopes to snuff out a spark of opposition before it can catch fire.

“If she doesn’t move to the left and really convince us she’s going to be a little more progressive, she cannot win the caucus in Iowa,” Democratic Party chair of Cedar County, Larry Hodgden said last week before Clinton’s inaugural campaign tour.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has emerged as one of the most vocal likely opponents to Clinton, traveling extensively in Iowa and New Hampshire with a not-so-subtle message for Democrats in those states: I’m the true progressive.

MORE: Hillary Clinton begins Campaign Her Way in Iowa

O’Malley criticized Clinton’s recent shifts on immigration and gay marriage at an appearance Thursday at Harvard University.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” said O’Malley. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.”

Meanwhile, Clinton plans to hire a former federal financial regulatory with a record of strong oversight, Gary Gensler, as the chief financial officer of her campaign, Bloomberg reported yesterday. And this week she brought on three policy advisors this week, including Maya Harris of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

She said week she supports a proposal by President Obama for free community college tuition, and said she would be in favor of a constitutional amendment on campaign finance reform.

If Clinton’s aim in her first week was win over liberal groups, she appears to have a good start.

“In the first 100 hours of her campaign, we’ve seen many positive steps in an economic populist direction from Hillary Clinton,” said the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a supporter of Sen. Warren, in a statement. “We hope these rhetorical steps are soon backed up by big, bold, populist policy specifics.”

Small Iowa groups that will be important in the caucus are taking Clinton seriously as well. Sue Dinsdale, director of the Iowa Citizen Action Network, a progressive political group based in Des Moines, said she appreciated Clinton’s progressive approach.

“It’s a juxtaposition with her past, but we all have a past,” Dinsdale said. “I think she is genuine.”

“I’m glad to see her taking progressive views on things,” she said.

Clinton has yet to announce firm positions on a number of platforms, something she plans to do in the coming months as her campaign gathers momentum. Her likely challengers, including O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have already articulated their views on several progressive issues.

MORE: Could This Man Beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa?

On Thursday, O’Malley reiterated his platform: reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banks; regulate Wall Street; and implement campaign finance reform.

He also aligned himself with labor groups in denouncing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and voiced support for a $15-minimum wage.

“Free markets, by themselves, do not create the generational wealth of great nations,” O’Malley said. “Rational, hard-working, patriotic and caring human beings do.”

Clinton has staked out some positions already. Last year, she said in an interview with NPR she supports gay marriage activism on a “state-by-state” basis; this week, her campaign said that Clinton hopes the Supreme Court will grant same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry — a decision that would play out at the federal level.

And in 2007, Clinton said she opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to own drivers licenses; this week, her campaign announced she supports it.

O’Malley, who touts his support for gay marriage and immigration reform as governor, criticized Clinton for changing her views. He’s also criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade deal that President Obama and congressional Republicans support but labor unions oppose.

“We must stop entering into bad trade deals—bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—that hurt middle class wages and ship middle class jobs overseas,” he said.

On Friday, the Clinton campaign said in a statement to the New York Times she would not reject a trade deal that would “raise wages and create more good jobs at home.”

MORE: Chelsea Clinton Gets Ready to Take the Stage

TIME

Martin O’Malley Criticizes Hillary Clinton for Flip-Flopping

Potential Presidential Candidate Martin O'Malley Speaks At Scott County Democratic Dinner
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland and potential Democratic presidential candidate, during the Scott County Democratic Party dinner in Davenport, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, March 20, 2015.

He touted his own credentials on immigration and same-sex marriage

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley had some sharp words Thursday evening for Hillary Clinton, who in the first week of her campaign has taken a more liberal stance on same-sex marriage and immigration.

“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” said O’Malley, who will likely challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls.”

“Leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular,” he continued.

Clinton has adopted a more populist tone than she has in the past during her recent tour this week to Iowa, where she made her first stops on the 2016 campaign trail.

Last year, Clinton said in an interview with NPR that she supports gay-marriage activism on a “state by state” basis; this week, her campaign announced Clinton supports a Supreme Court ruling that would grant same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry — a decision that would play out at the federal level.

MORE Could This Man Beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa?

And in 2007, Clinton said she opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to own driver’s licenses. This week her campaign announced she supports it.

O’Malley has trumpeted his past support for both those issues as governor of Maryland. He sponsored a same-sex-marriage bill in the state that passed in 2012 — among the first in the nation to be approved by voters — and signed a law in 2013 that allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

The former governor would run his campaign to the left of Clinton as a more progressive challenger. He currently registers as a blip in the polls but has greeted receptive audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire, where caucus-goers are eager for a more competitive race.

The likely candidate has begun criticizing Clinton as he begins laying the groundwork for his own likely campaign. In an interview late last month on ABC, O’Malley swiped at Clinton, saying that the “presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.”

O’Malley said he will make a final decision about running for President by the end of May.

Read next: What Hillary Clinton Did Before Her Campaign

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TIME Hillary Clinton

How Barack Obama’s Trade Deal Puts Hillary Clinton in a Bind

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with local residents at the Jones St. Java House in LeClaire, Iowa on April 14, 2015.
Charlie Neibergall—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with local residents at the Jones St. Java House in LeClaire, Iowa on April 14, 2015.

Sen. Marco Rubio is rarely on the same side as President Obama. But the Florida Republican, who is running for president in 2016, recently drafted a letter to the White House in support of Obama’s signature free-trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress is expected to vote on this term.

This odd-bedfellows moment backs Hillary Clinton, who announced this week that she is running for President, into a particularly uncomfortable corner — sandwiched between Republicans and centrist Democrats on one side, and the Democrats’ liberal, activist base on the other.

So far, Clinton has kept quiet about whether she supports the deal.

Most Republicans, the Obama administration and a powerful coalition of business interests, some of whom have donated to Clinton’s campaign, would like to see the former Secretary of State champion the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They argue that the sweeping, 12-nation free trade pact, the largest-ever for the United States, would been a boon for the U.S. economy.

“We stand ready to work with you to ensure quick consideration and approval of legislation to renew TPA,” Rubio wrote in the draft letter to Obama, which was obtained by TIME, in reference to the Trade Promotion Authority, the so-called fast track bill designed to facilitate the passage of the trade deal. “We must work together to ensure that goods and services created by U.S. workers are able to enter and effectively compete in overseas markets.” Rubio’s office declined to comment on the letter.

Meantime, an increasingly vociferous coalition of liberal lawmakers, labor leaders and grassroots populists, whose support Clinton will need during the primary campaign, have warned Clinton that they deeply oppose the pact, which they describe as a job-killing sweetheart deal for global corporations.

“People feel a lot of urgency and tension around this moment,” said George Goehl, the executive director the the National People’s Action, a network of progressive, grassroots organizations nationwide, in a press call Thursday morning.

“This is not a theoretical question for [Clinton] to answer,” he added. “It’s real-life right now and people want to know where she stands.”

On Wednesday night, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a potential Democratic presidential candidate who has been one of the loudest voices in Congress in opposition to the deal, rallied members of the progressive organization, Democracy For America, against the bill during a conference call. “The only way a member pays the price [for supporting TPP] is if the poeple are educated and organized,” he said, adding later that “What we have got to do is rally the American people and educate them and put pressure on vulnerable members.

“Keep the emails coming, put the pressure on,” he urged.

Clinton’s silence about the Trans-Pacific Partnership has sent both supporters and critics into spirals of speculation.

In her most recent memoir, Hard Choices, published last year, Clinton expressed limited support for the deal. “It’s safe to say that the TPP won’t be perfect,” she wrote. “No deal negotiated among a dozen countries ever will be — but its higher standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers.”

But during her 2007 run for the White House, she explicitly distanced herself from the last big free trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement which her husband signed in 1994, and said she would not pursue any new trade deals for a while.

After supporting NAFTA as first lady and in her 2003 memoir, Living History, Clinton said in an interview with CNN in 2007 that it “was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would, and that’s why I call for a trade timeout.”

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat who has been outspoken about his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, refused to speculate on Clinton’s position on trade. “I’m not going to go there. Hillary’s got a history. I’m pretty sure she was against fast track, against CAFTA. [She] spoke out in ’08 that we should renegotiate NAFTA,” he said Thursday. “So you make an assumption that Hillary is bad on trade but you would be wrong, I’d think.”

The Senate Finance Committee proposed a fast-track bill on Thursday afternoon that would give Obama the power to submit the trade pact to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote with no amendments. Supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say such legislation is crucial as it assures other countries that Congress won’t significantly change the deal during debate.

Opponents, including Sens. Brown and Elizabeth Warren, have called the fast track undemocratic, in part because it makes it easier for negotiators and lobbyists to insert provisions into the trade deal that Congress would not approve individually.

The populist base has also railed against the non-transparent, and sometimes downright secretive, process surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation process. As of last fall, a network of 566 stakeholders, 85% of whom represented industry and trade groups, were given limited access to the draft trade agreement, according to the Washington Post. Although more stakeholders have since been invited to access the document through a secure website, the details of the agreement, which will include twelve nations in the Asia-Pacific region, have not been made public or provided to the press. Even lawmakers have not been given copies of the draft plan.

In the coming weeks, Clinton will be asked, probably repeatedly, to take a strong position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If she opposes it, she risks alienating a slew of powerful, corporate interests. But if she doesn’t, she risks the rage of the populist left. And if she does nothing, she’ll lose points with both sides and be criticized by pundits for ducking a major issue.

“It’s a choice between a corporate vision of a world economy and a vision in which … workers’ rights and sustainable development is allowed by the legal system,” Roger Hickey, the co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, said on a press call Thursday morning. “It’s a big issue.”

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