The first campaign advertisements for 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, which will begin running Tuesday in Iowa and New Hampshire, focus largely on the candidate's late mother, Dorothy Rodham. The ads tell the story of Dorothy's hard beginnings, with Hillary saying she draws on her mother's experiences for her 2016 campaign.
Rodham died at the age of 92 in Washington in November 2011. Rodham mostly stayed in the background during her daughter's political career but inspired a love of learning and a will to persevere in Clinton, according to a New York Times obituary at the time of Rodham's death.
Rodham had a "Dickensian" childhood, with divorced parents who abandoned her at eight years old. The youth was sent unsupervised to grandparents in depression-era California from Chicago, the Times reported. The paper recounts Rodham being confined to her room for an entire year -- leaving only for school -- after her grandparents discovered she had gone trick-or-treating one Halloween.
She began working as a nanny as age 14, supporting herself through high school. She prepared meals and took care of a family's children in exchange for $3 per week, room and board, according to a Los Angeles Times report in 2008. Clinton references this childhood in Alhambra, California, and those who were willing to help her mother in her political ads.
"I think about all the Dorothy’s all over America who fight for their families, who never give up," Clinton said in a video of the first ad simply titled "Dorothy." "That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothy’s."
The second video, titled "Family Strong," begins by mentioning Clinton's mother but then delves into Hillary's credentials as a candidate and her new role as a grandmother. "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," Clinton's Campaign Manager Robby Mook said about the advertisements in a statement, via ABC News.
Clinton also described her mother in the 2006 edition of her book, "It Takes a Village," citing Dorothy as an inspiration. "Learning about my mother's childhood sparked my strong conviction that every child deserves a chance to live up to her God-given potential and that we should never quit on any child," the book reads, via the LA Times.
Dorothy, born June 4, 1919, eventually returned to Chicago and found work as a secretary, later marrying Hugh Ellsworth Rodham in 1942. They moved to suburban Park Ridge, Illinois, where Hillary and her siblings -- Hugh and Tony -- were born and raised.
Rodham was onstage with Hillary, her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea when Clinton dropped out of the presidential race in 2008 after losing the Democratic primary to now-President Barack Obama. About seven years later, Rodham is heavily featured in the two kick-off ads costing about $2 million total, according to ABC.