Clinton sticks to early campaign strategy

Published 10:10 am Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — During two days of campaigning this week in Iowa, Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t make a formal speech. She answered questions from reporters, but only for five minutes. Pressed by a moderator at her own event to say where she stood on a trade pact that’s dividing her party, she steered clear.

It was the kind of trip that infuriates her Republican critics, yet gives them fodder to keep up their argument she’s a candidate dodging tough issues and avoiding taking positions that could haunt her politically. That’s started to worry some Democrats, who are publicly prodding Clinton to wade deeper into the political fray and pick a side on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Clinton and her team are unmoved. They’re sticking to their plans for a low-key start to her second presidential campaign, displaying an early level of discipline that was lacking when Clinton sought the White House in 2008 and struggled with campaign infighting over strategy.

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It’s an approach they’ve crafted to show voters Clinton isn’t taking the Democratic nomination for granted.