Clinton hits TV airwaves in Iowa, New Hampshire

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton's campaign announces its first television advertisement buys of the 2016 race
  • The new ads will highlight Clinton's biography and that of her mother, Dorothy

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton is launching her first advertising campaign of the 2016 election with $1 million buys in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

The ads, which will air over the course of five weeks, will start with two 60-second spots focused solely on her biography. They'll air on broadcast and cable networks, as well as online, according to the campaign.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner's campaign is highlighting her mother's hardscrabble childhood and her commitment to service in her first television advertisements of the 2016 race. It's an effort define Clinton to voters in her own terms, and push back against the early narrative that she's untrustworthy and secretive.
    "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," campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.
    While the ads attempt to address lingering concerns about Clinton's candidacy, Mook suggested the campaign's decision to hit the airwaves now isn't a specific reaction to growing speculation about the Democratic field growing -- possibly to include Vice President Joe Biden.
    "Since Day 1, we've planned for a competitive primary with Hillary herself working to earn every vote and, ultimately, the nomination," he said. "This is the natural next step."
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    It's earlier than Clinton began advertising during her 2008 Democratic primary fight against Barack Obama and John Edwards. That she's advertising already suggests Clinton's campaign is attempting to seize an opportunity to confront her struggles before the airwaves are cluttered with opponents and super PACs attempting to take bites out of her.
    In one ad, Clinton highlights much of her already-known public record. A narrator identifies her as "the secretary of state who joined the Cabinet of the man who defeated her, because when your President calls you serve," and references her status as a new grandmother, with a photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton holding their newborn granddaughter.
    It also points out her decision after graduating from Yale Law School to forsake a better-paying job at a high-end firm to work for the Children's Defense Fund.
    Another ad, dubbed "Dorothy," features Clinton telling the story of her mother being abandoned as a child, and then benefiting from the kindness of a teacher and the family that employed her.
    "When she needed a champion someone was there. I think about all the Dorothys all over America who fight for their families, who never give up," she said.
    The spots both pull heavily from Clinton's remarks on the stump. Her mother's story and her work for the Children's Defense Fund come up at most campaign events.
    Clinton has seen a downturn in some poll numbers -- particularly on questions of whether Americans view her favorably and believe she is trustworthy -- since launching her campaign in April.
    A decline from her popular days as a former secretary of state, her allies say, was to be expected as she re-entered the political arena.
    But Clinton has also suffered from an ongoing saga over her use of a private email address on a personal server during her tenure as America's top diplomat, as well as questions about her family foundation's acceptance of foreign contributions.
    Her chief primary challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has inched closer to Clinton in New Hampshire and Iowa, the two key early voting states, with authenticity as a central element of his appeal.
    Focusing on Clinton's biography -- especially the years before she entered the White House as first lady in 1992 -- has been a priority since the campaign launched in April.
    Clinton's earliest internal polling showed that while voter saws the former secretary of state as a fighter, they weren't convinced she was focused on the interests of average Americans. The polling also showed that large parts of Clinton's biography -- particularly those years before she was known as first lady Hillary Clinton -- were largely misunderstood or unknown.
    In order to change the perception, Clinton's campaign has tried to tell her story as a staffer at the Children's' Defense Fund, as the first lady of Arkansas and, more recently, as a grandmother. The campaign has used her mother's story to underscore the causes on which Clinton has focused.
    The new ads were filmed two months ago, and the "Dorothy" spot pulls from the same interview that Clinton's campaign used to make "Fighter."