For nearly an hour Saturday on Roosevelt Island, Hillary Clinton, with several impressive “formers” in front of her name, opened her presidential campaign full bore, invoking past presidents, including her husband, Bill, and memories of her mother.

She even touched on the gender issue, something she has tactfully avoided up to now. After citing some of her resume, she told a cheering crowd that she knows how difficult a job it will be as president.

“I’ve seen it up close and personal,” Clinton said. “All our presidents come into office looking so vigorous. And then we watch their hair grow grayer and grayer. Well, 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! And the first grandmother as well.”

Before talking about the influence of her mother on her career and the woman she is today, Clinton aroused the partisan spectators even more. “I think you know by now that I’ve been called many things by many people—‘quitter’ is not one of them,” she said to sustained applause.

This perseverance, the ability to withstand all kinds of hardship, was inherited from her mother, she told the crowd. “When I was a girl, she never let me back down from any bully or barrier,” she began. “In her later years, Mom lived with us, and she was still teaching me the same lessons. I’d come home from a hard day at the Senate or the State Department, sit down with her at the small table in our breakfast nook and just let everything pour out.

“She would remind me why we keep fighting, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce,” Clinton continued. “I can still hear her saying, ‘Life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with what happens to you—so get back out there.’ She lived to be 92 years old, and I often think about all the battles she witnessed over the course of the last century—all the progress that was won because Americans refused to give up or back down.”

A more extensive account of her mother’s plight was recounted in last Saturday’s New York Times, discussing her mother’s separation from her parents. Clinton’s parents eventually came to live with her after Clinton gave birth to Chelsea, who shared the podium with her mother.

It was a rousing speech, and Clinton dwelled on the critical issues of democracy and the economy. “We’re still working our way back from a crisis that happened because time-tested values were replaced by false promises,” she explained. “Instead of an economy built by every American, for every American, we were told that if we let those at the top pay lower taxes and bend the rules, their success would trickle down to everyone else. What happened? Well, instead of a balanced budget with surpluses that could have eventually paid off our national debt, the Republicans twice cut taxes for the wealthiest, borrowed money from other countries to pay for two wars, and family incomes dropped.”

Very succinctly and pointedly, she said that prosperity can’t be just for CEOs and hedge fund managers. Democracy can’t be just for billionaires and corporations. On several occasions, she invoked President Barack Obama, noting what he had done to rescue the nation from an impending depression, how he “saved the auto industry, provided health care to 16 million working people and replaced the jobs we lost faster than a financial crash.”

Yes, Obama had done his part, but to Clinton, it was the American people who had pulled things together. “You brought our country back,” she charged. “Now it’s time, your time, to secure the gains and move ahead. And you know what? America can’t succeed unless you succeed.” It was just the kind of message to nudge her supporters into giving another loud ovation.

Clinton, as a former secretary of state, offered some general comments on foreign policy without any specifics. She said the U.S. is better positioned, better prepared and equipped to thrive in the 21st century as well as deal with the traditional threats from countries such as Russia, North Korea and Iran, “and to deal with the rise of new powers like China,” stopping short of addressing the hot-button issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Nor was any group of Americans, except LGBTs, given special attention. If she said anything at all about pervasive police misconduct, it wasn’t a point she chose to emphasize at this stage of her candidacy. When she referenced unequal incarceration, that was about the closest inference made to the Black community. Oh, there was a brief mention of distressed communities “from coal country to Indian country, from small towns in the Mississippi Delta to the Rio Grande Valley to our inner cities,” all of which she promised to help.

But this moment was meant for ordinary Americans, for people like her mother, who lived to be 92, and if Clinton becomes president, she will share the glory with her daughter and her granddaughter, Charlotte.