Finally, she’s done it, officially announcing on her website “I’m in. And I’m in to win.”

On paper, Hillary Rodham Clinton reads like the Democrats’ dream girl: “The Democrat from New York brings to the table 14 years of experience at Washington’s highest political levels, as both a two-term first lady and now six years as a US senator”, says The Christian Science Monitor. “She appears set to raise all the funds she needs, enjoys near-universal name recognition, and has at her side one of the nation’s most astute political operatives, her husband, former President Clinton.”
 But she’s far from a shoo-in for first female president, says The New York Times. Clinton faces the challenge of managing and mastering “the issues that have long vexed her, like the war in Iraq and universal health insurance.” In fact, according to the Times, Hillary has told friends that she is more worried about winning the Democratic nomination than winning a general election against a Republican. On her website, in which she urged voters to “start a conversation” with her using modern technology like web chats, Clinton made it clear that “I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine … After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.” And this Web campaign launch gave “new-media s-x appeal to her trademark amiable caution,” says Salon.

Then there’s the female factor – Clinton will have to convince voters to choose a woman as their commander in chief at a time when the nation is at war. But gender could be the key for Clinton, argues The Washington Post. Remember, “nine million more women than men voted in the last presidential election…”

“Clinton’s relationship with women has been slow in developing,” says the Post. “It took her a long time to recover from a remark she made during her husband’s 1992 campaign, when she appeared to be scornful of those who stayed home and baked cookies. But she generated tremendous sympathy when she stoically dealt with the public humiliation of her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.”

And while Democrats may be salivating over the prospect of what The New Republic dubs a “Clinton v Obama smackdown”, there could be a downside to pitching the party’s best and brightest at each other’s throats, in that they simply steal votes, and donations, from each other. But polling so far suggests that Clinton is way out in front, according to The Washington Post, Clinton took 41% in a hypothetical primary field against 12 other Democrats, far ahead of Senator Barack Obama at 17%.

PLUS: Can’t get enough of Hillary? Slate offers a press round up, The Washington Post provides a photo montage of Clinton through the years set to a stirring soundtrack, The LA Times writes up a good wrap on the New York senator’s career so far, The Wall Street Journal has a table of all the kids who’ve jumped in the primaries pool to date.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey