May 14, 2015 6:14 PM

Hillary Clinton woos donors visiting campaign headquarters

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Hillary Rodham Clinton promised her most loyal supporters Thursday she will present a more authentic version of herself during her 2016 campaign for president than she did eight years ago.

Clinton told a group of several hundred "Hillstarters," donors who have raised at least $27,000 for her campaign, that she had learned from her failed run in 2008.

Asked by one whether voters would see the Clinton who came to tears in a New Hampshire restaurant when asked how she managed to stay upbeat, the former secretary of state said she plans to find ways to show more of her personal side.

"Hillary said, 'Well, that's really on me to make sure I get enough rest, to make sure I think and reflect, and (that) I don't micromanage too much,'" said former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who attended the event at a banquet hall in Brooklyn with views of the Statue of Liberty.

Bayh said he and other donors at the meeting had noticed a change in Clinton since her previous run for the White House. "There's something in some ways about being unsuccessful that can be liberating," Bayh said. "She's embraced this, in a joyful spirit."

Clinton encouraged the group of donors to find others who had not yet given to her campaign, Bayh said, but she didn't make a plug for them to give money to Priorities Action USA, the super PAC backing her candidacy. Yet Clinton also noted such outside groups were "sprouting up like mushrooms" on the Republican side, he said.

Lunch was not on the day's itinerary an effort by campaign manager Robby Mook to demonstrate the campaign's frugal style to the people who will pay for it. Bayh and the other donors got a series of briefings on polling, strategy and communications, along with a tour of Clinton's campaign headquarters.

There was no mention of the recent criticism of the Clinton Family Foundation and the tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees collected by former President Bill Clinton while his wife was secretary of state, aside from pollster Joel Benenson's note that Clinton's numbers remain steady despite a "couple tough news cycles."

There was also no discussion of her potential Republican opponents, whoses support was described as "static" by Clinton's staff, Bayh said.

Clinton's stop at the fundraising event was her first visit to Brooklyn since formally launching her campaign last month. She also spent time at her campaign headquarters, where she spent an hour mingling with staff who have recently joined her operation. Clinton told the dozens of new aides that while winning is important, she also wants them to "have fun," said spokesman Nick Merrill.

While in the neighborhood, she stopped at a pizza shop, a toy store and a local nonprofit. She chatted with customers, ordered a salad and purchased two rompers and a children's book for her granddaughter, Charlotte.

Next week, Clinton will return to more politically competitive terrain, with stops planned in Iowa and New Hampshire.


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