Hillary Clinton is expected on Sunday to formally announce her intention to run for president of the United States in the 2016 election. If elected, she would be the country’s first female president.
And the former secretary of state could turn out to be a lot more hawkish on U.S. foreign policy — issues like Iran, Israel, Syria and Libya — than President Barack Obama, analysts say.
“I think that Secretary Clinton will actually try to convey a sense that she is tougher, stronger, more experienced, more professional,” said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report.
But the road to victory for the former first lady could be rocky.
Clinton is perceived by some as unapproachable. Her decision to launch her campaign on YouTube is not going to help that image, said Lara Brown of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.
“I don’t know that I would project this image of 'I’m prepackaged behind a video' to start this campaign,” Brown told VOA. “I would think she would want to have real people there, that she would want to be in a boisterous but enthusiastic environment.”
So far, no other strong Democratic candidates have emerged in the 2016 campaign, but there are some two dozen Republicans fighting for the chance to defeat her at the polls.
Rothenberg said that out of those, three top Republican candidates could provide a strong challenge if Clinton wins the Democratic Party nomination: Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and brother to former President George W. Bush; Scott Walker, the conservative governor of Wisconsin; and Marco Rubio, a young senator from Florida.
Clinton has been in the political limelight for years, first as the wife of former President Bill Clinton, then as a senator from New York and finally as Obama’s secretary of state. She has a loyal Democratic following and an ability to raise money, and she knows the issues.
But for many, she remains cryptic.
“In some ways, we don’t know her,” said Brown. “I think one of the problems of her campaign is that people have assumed, because she has been on the national stage for 20 years, that she can skip what all candidates must do, which is put together a narrative about their biography, their character, and essentially then, their vision.”
Rothenberg feels Clinton's other negative is her age. She is 67 now and would be close to 70 if she were to take office. Speaking on YouTube is seen as her attempt to reach out to younger voters.
“We are a country and a culture these days where 15 minutes ago is ancient history, and voters always want something new and fresh,” said Rothenberg.
When the final race for the presidency kicks off next year, Republicans most likely will focus on Clinton’s credibility. But so far, the political controversies swirling around Clinton have failed to disrupt her support base.
And Clinton still possesses some deep advantages over her potential rivals.
“She’s got experience, both domestic and foreign policy," Rothenberg said. "She got rave reviews in terms of her energy and her enthusiasm in the work she did as secretary of state, and that’s a plus. Frankly, she’s a woman, and that’s a huge asset.”