Supporters listen during a speech at the "Last Hillary Clinton...

Supporters listen during a speech at the "Last Hillary Clinton Rally" as part of the Ready for Hillary campaign in New York, Saturday, April 11, 2015. Credit: AP / Craig Ruttle

Proclaiming it's time for a woman to lead the nation, about 200 supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton rallied in lower Manhattan Saturday, a day before her planned announcement of her candidacy for president.

"I've loved Hillary and voted for Bill because of Hillary. It's always been about Hillary," said Great Neck resident Noreen Siegel, who attended the event in Battery Park City.

The rally was organized by the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which raised $15 million to drum up support for Clinton for the past two years and will now shut down as her campaign gets underway -- leaving a list of 4 million supporters.

"This is a grassroots network of volunteers that will support Hillary as the first woman president," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), addressing the crowd.

Across the East River in Clinton's new Brooklyn Heights headquarters, Clinton's campaign team gathered for a prelaunch pep talk from campaign manager Robby Mook, who discussed the "purpose and values" that will define the operation. A memo said the purpose is "to give every family, every small business, and every American a path to lasting prosperity."

The campaign, to be known as Hillary for America, will cast the former first lady, senator and secretary of state as a "tenacious fighter" able to get results, two senior advisers told The Associated Press.

Clinton's formal announcement will come Sunday in a video posted online. People familiar with the plans say Clinton will travel to Iowa and other early-voting states to hold small events with residents in the following days.

She will enter the race as the overwhelming favorite for her party's nomination. Still, her team has said her early strategy is designed to avoid appearing to take that nomination for granted.

The initial events will include discussions at colleges, day care centers and private homes, and stops at coffee shops and diners. After about a month, Clinton will give a broader speech outlining more specifics about her rationale for running.

For many in the largely female crowd at the lower Manhattan rally, putting a woman in the White House was at the top of the list.

"It's time for a woman president. We are behind the times," said Patricia Maher of East Meadow, a Democrat who ran against Seaford Republican Rep. Peter King last year. "Hillary has the experience, and she now has experience as secretary of state. Hillary is great for this country."

Barbara Paxton of East Harlem said she is ready to go door-to-door and make sure Hillary supporters get to the polls. "What's at stake here is the first woman president of the United States and the future of women," Paxton said.

Anthony DeSimone of Manhattan said he voted for President Barack Obama -- who defeated Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2008 -- "because it was his time. Now it's Hillary Clinton's time. She has proved herself as a world leader and that she can do the job."

Obama, asked about her imminent candidacy by reporters at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, said, "I think she would be an excellent president."

With AP

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months