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GOP Protesters Can’t Kill the Buzz as Clinton Promises Prosperity at Campaign Rally

While a crowd of thousands cheered deafeningly as Hillary Clinton delivered the first major speech of her second campaign for president, members of a Republican-organized “Stop Hillary” campaign gathered nearby.

by Liz Fields and Purvi Thacker
Jun 13 2015, 7:55pm

Photo by Andrew Gombert/EPA

A crowd of thousands cheered deafeningly as Hillary Clinton delivered the first major speech of her second campaign for president at an outdoor campaign rally Saturday on New York City's Roosevelt Island. But just down the road, a different sort of crowd was gathered under the shade of a tree, chanting "Stop Hillary," "Hillary is shady," and several rounds of "GOP, GOP, GOP."

The Republican-organized "Stop Hillary" campaign leaders were mostly young, in their 20s, and carrying printed signs that appropriated Clinton's signature "H" followed by the letters "ypocrisy."

At least one Clinton supporter flashed his middle fingers at the anti-campaigners as he left the park.

"Hillary Clinton's announcement speech was chock full of hypocritical attacks, partisan rhetoric and ideas from the past that have led to a sluggish economy leaving too many Americans behind," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Allison Moore said. "Next year, Americans will reject the failed policies of the past and elect a Republican president."

But Clinton has other plans, and a message that may resonate with voters from the middle and working classes. As a "Hillz 4 Prez" banner fluttered alongside American flags waving across the blue New York cityscape, she hailed a new era of shared prosperity in America, promising to fiercely advocate for workers left behind after the recession.

"It's America's basic bargain," Clinton said. "If you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead, and when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too. That bargain inspired generations of American families, including my own."

Related: Being a Woman Doesn't Guarantee Hillary Clinton the 'Women's Vote' in 2016

Photo by Andrew Gombert/EPA

Alan O'Grady, an office assistant from Manhattan, told VICE News that Clinton's "fighting spirit" came out in her speech today. The former secretary of state and first lady championed American workers, as well as equal rights for women and gay people.

"Her moving to the left makes me a happy person," O'Grady said. "When she was in the fight with Obama, it was her fighting spirit which really made me stick with her."

The Clinton campaign said that her "tenacious fighter" message would form the foundation of the 2016 White House race. Clinton also signaled her intention to campaign on the prospect that she would be the first woman elected to the White House.

Related: The State Department Will Start Releasing Hillary Clinton's Emails June 30

She started her speech expressing her joy to be "in a place with absolutely no ceilings," and ended by saying she wanted join with her supporters to build a country where a father can tell his daughter she can grow up to be anything, "even president of the United States."

"I have been called many things by many people," Clinton said. "Quitter is not one of them."

Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea also appeared at the rally, the first time the family had been seen together in public since Clinton began her campaign in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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