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Dorothy is Clinton’s late mother. She died in 2011. But she's playing a starring role in her daughter’s presidential campaign, and is the focus of Clinton’s first television ads.
On Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign will begin broadcasting two TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. The one-minute spots, which will air over the course of five weeks, emphasize Clinton’s mother’s story over her own.
The first ad, titled “Dorothy,” is almost completely devoid of any discussion of Clinton’s credentials. Instead, it's focused on recounting her mother’s trauma-filled childhood.
Clinton, who narrates the story over old photos of her mom, describes how her mother is the person who most influenced her desire to fight for families and to run for president.
“I think about all the Dorothy’s all over America who fight for their families, who never give up,” Clinton says while video of a mother tucking her daughter in to bed plays. “That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothy’s.”
The second ad, titled “Family Strong,” opens with Dorothy’s story, but then transitions to lay out more of Clinton’s resume -- beginning with her first job out of law school at the Children’s Defense Fund to her new role as grandmother.
At one point the narrator bluntly refers to President Obama as “the man who defeated her" when saying Clinton served in the president's cabinet as Secretary of State.
The "Family Strong" ad also includes a photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton with their new granddaughter, Charlotte. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, however, is not mentioned or pictured in either spot.
The strategy for Clinton to talk about her mom is one that her campaign has been pushing since its launch. The hope is that telling personal stories will soften Clinton's image and re-introduce her to voters.
"We’re going to make sure everyone knows who Hillary Clinton really is -– who she fights for and what has motivated her lifelong commitment to children and families,” Clinton's Campaign Manager Robby Mook said in a statement. “Since Day One, we’ve planned for a competitive primary with Hillary herself working to earn every vote and, ultimately, the nomination. This is the natural next step.”
The two ads, released online Sunday, are part of an initial five-week buy costing the campaign a total of roughly $2 million -- about $1 million in each state.