Hillary Clinton's Iowa strategy

The "Inside Politics" forecast
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Story highlights

  • Bill's post-Hillary announcement plans
  • Christie's Granite State strategy
  • Cruz steps on Rubio's big day

Washington (CNN)Bill's role in Hillary's campaign? Iowa's angst about a Clinton coronation? Both topics of a Sunday trip around the "Inside Politics" table that also included nuggets about Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and the competition for Latino votes among top Republicans.

1. Hillary Clinton's Iowa strategy
Iowa is a four-letter word in more ways than one to Hillary Clinton -- the source of her big 2008 loss to Barack Obama.
    The rest, as they say, is history. And Secretary Clinton is looking for a much happier Iowa sequel as she enters the 2016 campaign.
    She's way ahead of her long-shot Democratic rivals in the state, but National Journal's Ron Fournier -- just back from a few days filling his notebook in Iowa -- says there is a clear sense in the state that a cakewalk would be bad for the Democratic Party, and maybe for Clinton, too.
    "If you ask any Democratic official in Iowa, they want a contest, not a coronation," said Fournier. "What really surprised me though is how the Clinton team gets this."
    "They really know Iowa, they really respect Iowa. The leader of it, Matt Paul, is from Iowa. In addition, everything you've heard about what she's going to do about a small campaign - -it's going to be very intimate -- they've also decided that they're going to use her celebrity in Iowa to raise up the visibility of rising young Iowa politicians. And to focus on some local issues, that normally a presidential candidate wouldn't, that are important to Democrats, to show that she thinks that her campaign is bigger than just her."
    2. Bill Clinton in a corner? Don't bet on it
    Bill Clinton is on the cover of Town and Country this month, a not exactly low-key approach as his wife launches presidential run No. 2.
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    His message -- despite the cover shoot -- he plans to be low key as she jumps into the race and courts voters in the early primary states.
    But Lisa Lerer of the Associated Press reports that low key doesn't mean invisible.
    "On Tuesday, two days after his wife announces, he'll be in New York giving an award on global health. Then at end of the month he'll be headed to Africa for a meeting of his foundation," said Lerer.
    "The Clinton campaign has strategized that it's better, despite the former president's considerable political assets -- he's the most popular politician in the country-- it's better to let his wife take the spotlight and define herself. That may not be as easy as they think it is. We all know after several decades in the public spotlight, nobody puts Bill Clinton in the corner."
    3. Is that Vince Vaughn or Ted Cruz?
    Sunday is Hillary's big day. And Marco Rubio officially joins the GOP 2016 field Monday evening with a speech in Miami.
    But Ted Cruz is trying to steal at least a bit of their spotlight.
    Yes, the same Ted Cruz who has a reputation among this Senate colleagues for ignoring long-established protocol.
    Cruz crashes Rubio's big day
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    The Texas senator is set to deliver a speech Monday afternoon to the conservative John Locke Foundation in North Carolina.
    Aides describe it as a tough speech drawing a sharp contrast with Clinton and making the case the world grew more dangerous on her watch.
    They also say it is the next piece of a choreographed Cruz campaign rollout; targeted first were tea party voters and grassroots evangelicals.
    Now, Team Cruz says he wants to reach out to national security conservatives as he tries to broaden his appeal within the GOP primary electorate.
    But these aides insist there is no interest in being rude to Rubio on his big day.
    The North Carolina speech, they say, was on the books well before Rubio scheduled his announcement, and Cruz will be done several hours before Rubio makes this official Monday evening.
    4. Remember Chris Christie? He's hoping for a Granite State comeback
    Chris Christie went from major topic to often an afterthought in 2016 presidential conversations.
    But the Republican governor plans to prove reports of his demise are grossly exaggerated, using a strategy that has worked well for him over the years in New Jersey: town halls.
    Robert Costa of the Washington Post shared reporting on how Team Christie thinks there still is plenty of time to gear up, and he is off to New Hampshire to prove it.
    "He's been having town hall meetings in the Garden State because this week he's going to New Hampshire," said Costa. "He believes he can mount a political comeback by returning to his strengths: talking to voters, engaging in a forum, having his personality show. We'll see what happens. It's a crowded field but he believes the force of his personality can be his way back."
    5. Jeb Bush, Latino?
    There was a bit of a kerfuffle last week when Jeb Bush had to concede he once (inadvertently, he says) checked a box declaring himself to be of Latino heritage.
    More seriously, though, is a competition for Latino votes in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries that could strain the friendship between the two big Florida GOP players.
    Nia-Malika Henderson laid out the competition many Floridians are talking about: "They think that [Jeb's] going to give Marco Rubio a big run in terms of getting the Latino vote -- he got about 60% of the Latino vote when he ran in Florida."
    "A couple of states to look for: Nevada, Colorado, and Florida -- in terms of splitting the Latino vote."