Contrasting Sanders, Clinton touts Democratic credentials when filing for N.H. primary

Story highlights

  • Hillary Clinton filed for the New Hampshire presidential primary on Monday
  • This is the fourth time Clinton has filed for herself or someone else in New Hampshire

Concord, New Hampshire (CNN)Hillary Clinton made it official Monday in Concord, New Hampshire, when she filed for the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

During a post filing press conference, Clinton declined to directly challenge the Democrats running against her -- namely Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders -- but did sharpen the contrast with her stoutest opponent by repeatedly emphasizing the fact she is a longtime Democrat.
"I've been a Democrat for a very long time," Clinton said in response to a question on whether Sanders, a longtime independent, should be able to run for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire. "I've supported a lot of Democrats over the years. As president, I've told a lot of Democrats across the country that I want to help build party from ground up."
    Sanders is not a registered Democrat because there is no party registration in Vermont, but has long been a vocal independent who has often taken positions counter to the Democratic establishment. Some in New Hampshire have questioned whether he should be able to run as a Democrat, and he's described himself as a Democratic socialist.
    "He has to speak for himself," Clinton said in the same answer. "You won't get me to talk about his taking any position that is a political position."
    Clinton took a similar message with her to a post-filing rally on the steps of the New Hampshire State House.
    "It is about how we can come together and find common ground," Clinton said on her campaign. "I am not running for my husband's third term and I am not running for Barack Obama's third term, but I am a proud Democrat and I am going to build on the progress we have made together."
    Flanked by well-known New Hampshire supporters and photos of the last 12 primaries, Clinton signed the form declaring her candidacy in New Hampshire and paid the $1,000 filing fee.
    This is the fourth time Clinton has filed for herself or someone else in New Hampshire. She filed for her husband in 1991 and 1995 and did it in 2007 for her first presidential run.
    Each time, Clinton has filed with Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who accepted Clinton's paperwork again on Monday. Gardner has been secretary of state since 1976 and is widely viewed as the biggest defender of New Hampshire's status.
    "How are you holding up," she asked Gardner, a subtle acknowledgment of the craziness that had befallen his office.
    Flanked by well-known New Hampshire supporters and photos of the last 12 primaries, Clinton signed the form declaring her candidacy in New Hampshire and paid the $1,000 filing fee.
    She told reporters after filing that she does not feel inevitable, a word used to describe her campaign when she filed in 2007.
    "That is not how it feels," Clinton said. "I am back again and I intend to do everything I can to be successful this time."
    Standing next to Clinton as she signed the paperwork was Dick Swett, former congressman from New Hampshire; Jim Demers, President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign co-chairman; Susan Lynch, former New Hampshire first lady; Bill Shaheen, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's husband; Tom Hassan, first gentleman of New Hampshire, and Terry Shumaker, a longtime Clinton adviser in the state.
    This is the fourth time Clinton has filed for herself or someone else in New Hampshire. She filed for her husband in 1991 and 1995 and did it in 2007 for her first presidential run.
    Clinton filed for the primary Monday on a stronger footing in New Hampshire than she had during the summer when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had pulled ahead in public polling.
    The most recent Monmouth University poll had Clinton up 3 percentage points in the state, a departure from the wide lead Sanders built over the summer.
    Clinton's filing kicks off a two-day, five-event swing through the Granite State. After filing, she will hold a rally on the steps of the New Hampshire State Capitol. Monday afternoon, Clinton will pick up the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund at an event launching Environmentalists for Hillary in Nashua and then attend a town hall in Windham.
    On Tuesday, Clinton headlines events in Derry and Hanover.
    Someone not with her in New Hampshire -- or much at all on the trail, for that matter -- is former President Bill Clinton, who has only joined Clinton at two political events since she launched her campaign earlier this year.
    "You will see him up here," Clinton told reporters. "I don't think I could keep him away."