Denver Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., has gone to great lengths to create a distinctive political footprint, but she declared Monday that ideas championed by the Clinton White House offer the best chance for Democrats to win back their majority.
"To paraphrase the historic 1992 campaign," Clinton said with a wry smile, "It's the American Dream, stupid."
In a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that propelled her husband to the presidency on his own riff of "It's the economy, stupid," she unveiled a 20-page "American Dream Initiative" The familiar set of policies, which Clinton said should become a signature brand for Democrats, is aimed at improving the lives of the middle class.
"This agenda is all about restoring the American Dream, but there is nothing dream-like about it," Clinton said. "Democrats stand ready to lead again. Now all we have to do is win elections."
While her own political ambitions officially went unspoken here at a conference of moderate Democrats, there was little doubt that her marquee speaking position, as well as a red-bound policy booklet handed out to participants, was designed to provide a framework for a prospective presidential bid.
It was, in many respects, a reprise of ideas that gained favor more than a decade ago, including offering more government aid to attend college, purchase homes and save for retirement. Clinton and others said the road to winning the White House and control of Congress rests upon expanding the party's appeal to independent voters.