Hillary Clinton Launches First TV Ads

$1 million worth of ads in both Iowa and New Hampshire focus on her mother as well as her service as a first lady, senator, and secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton making her pitch to Ames, Iowa, voters. (National Journal)

Hillary Clinton is launching her first television ads of the 2016 presidential campaign, reintroducing herself to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire with a message that focuses heavily on her life story and the memory of her mother.

Two 60-second TV ads will begin airing Tuesday, Clinton's campaign said Sunday night.

One ad, "Family Strong," runs through the highlights of Clinton's career, including her decision to become secretary of State and her time at the Children's Defense Fund — both stories that come up frequently on the campaign trail.

"After law school, she could have gone to a big firm, but instead went to work for the Children's Defense Fund," a narrator says. "In Arkansas, she fought for school reform to change lives forever. Then as first lady, she helped get health care for 8 million kids. You probably know the rest. The senator who made sure the heroes and families of 9/11 got the care they needed. The secretary of State who joined the cabinet of the man who defeated her, because when your president calls, you serve. And now a new title: grandma."

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The other ad is titled "Dorothy" and focuses on the candidate's mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham. Rodham's story has featured prominently in Clinton's campaign thus far; it's a story she tells often on the campaign trail, and it was a big part of her official campaign kickoff in June.

"When I think about why I'm doing this, I think about my mother Dorothy," Clinton says to the camera. "She was abandoned by her parents at the age of 8, sent from Chicago to L.A. to live with grandparents who didn't want her. But people showed her kindness, gave her a chance."

"When she needed a champion, someone was there — I think about all the Dorothys all over America who fight for their families, who never give up. That's why I'm doing this. That's why I've always done this: for all the Dorothys."

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Rodham, who died in 2011, was a fixture in Clinton's 2008 campaign as well; that year, Rodham spoke directly to the camera in one ad. "What I would like people to know about Hillary is what a good person she is," Rodham said in the advertisement. "I think she ought to be elected even if she weren't my daughter."

The ads are part of a $1 million buy in each state and will run on television (broadcast and cable) and digitally for five weeks. In New Hampshire, the ads will run statewide, as well as in the Boston/Manchester and Burlington, Vermont, media markets; in Iowa, they'll run on Des Moines and Cedar Rapids stations. Clinton is the first Democratic presidential candidate to start TV advertising.