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The best line in Clinton's big speech was also the most important

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton held the first big rally of her campaign Saturday at Four Freedoms Park at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York's East River. There was one line that stood out because it said so much about the difference between this campaign and the one she lost in 2008.

"I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States."

  1. Clinton advisers believe one of the biggest mistakes she made in 2008 was ignoring the appeal of the historic nature of her candidacy for the presidency. Barack Obama gave voters a chance to break new ground. Now Clinton is making an explicit appeal to women, as well as to men who see value in breaking the glass ceiling of the Oval Office.
  2. That weaves her personal narrative into a series of fights for equality she promised to take on, including closing the gap between the rich and the poor, achieving workplace fairness for women, and ending discrimination against LGBT Americans.
  3. Campaign aide Jennifer Palmieri tweeted that the line was an ad lib courtesy of a young voter in South Carolina, who said it to Clinton last week. Clinton wants her campaign this time around to be all about average Americans.
  4. The line was one of several references Clinton made to her own age. Republicans have tried to paint her as a figure from a past generation. She telegraphed a tactical reversal that she could use against any of her potential Republican rivals. "There may be some new voices in the Republican presidential choir, but they’re all singing the same old song, a song called 'Yesterday.'" She spared the audience a rendition of the Beatles hit, but the point was made: the GOP's ideas are old.
  5. It came as a lead-in to Clinton talking about being a fighter. She connected the advice her mother gave her about getting up when you're knocked down to the centuries-long struggle for women's rights.
  6. For a candidate who says she wants to be the champion for "everyday Americans," the importance of showing that she understands the challenges of overcoming adversities large and small cannot be overstated. "I've been called many things by many people," she said. "'Quitter' is not one of them."