CONCORD, N.H. – Hillary Rodham Clinton signed paperwork Monday establishing her as a Democratic presidential candidate in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, presenting herself as the party's standard-bearer to succeed President Barack Obama.
"My name may be on the ballot but I really feel like this election is about you," Clinton said at a rally by the steps of the gold-domed state capitol.
After signing a one-page form and presenting the New Hampshire secretary of state's office with a $1,000 check, Clinton noted her work for the party and on behalf of Democratic candidates — an implicit swipe at rival Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist who has drawn support from the party's liberal wing.
"Well, I'm a Democrat. I just signed papers saying I'm a Democrat. He has to speak for himself," Clinton told reporters after filing her candidacy. "I will put forth my position. If there's a contrast, there's a contrast. I'm just proud to be a Democrat and I'm proud that I've work so hard for the Democratic party."
Sanders, the Vermont senator who has become Clinton's main challenger for the nomination, filed paperwork in New Hampshire last week and declared that he was a Democrat.
Outside the statehouse, Clinton said she was a "proud Democrat" and vowed to "build on the progress" that she said the party had built under Obama, whom she served as secretary of state.
Reprising a line that has become a crowd favorite, Clinton said that Obama hasn't received the "credit he deserves" for helping the nation emerge from a deep recession — and made a passing reference to the economic mantra of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose come-from-behind second place finish in New Hampshire propelled his candidacy in 1992.
"This election is still going to be about the economy, right? That's what it was about when my husband ran back in '92 in New Hampshire. That's what it's still about," Clinton said.
Her comments came during a busy week of campaigning in New Hampshire and a pair of debates — among Republicans Tuesday night and between Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Saturday night in Iowa, their first since the field has winnowed to three main candidates.
Clinton was the last of the three main Democratic candidates to file. Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley filed paperwork at the secretary of state's office last week. Candidates have until Nov. 20 to file for the primary, which is expected to be held Feb. 9.