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Hillary Clinton advisers traveling to New Hampshire, Iowa (+video)

Hillary Clinton, the leading 2016 Democratic candidate if she runs, has signaled that she will compete vigorously in the leadoff presidential states of Iowa and New Hampshire, along with South Carolina and Nevada.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign manager-in-waiting is traveling to the early voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa this week for meetings with Democratic activists as the former secretary of state prepares for a likely presidential campaign.

Robby Mook, who is expected to be Clinton's campaign manager, was visiting New Hampshire on Monday and Tuesday and traveling to Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday for meetings with party officials and activists, Democrats familiar with the plans said. The people were not authorized to speak publicly about internal planning.

Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate if she runs, has signaled that she will compete vigorously in the leadoff presidential states of Iowa and New Hampshire, along with South Carolina and Nevada. Clinton was tripped up in Iowa by Barack Obama in 2008 and her supporters have said she will not take anything for granted this time.

The New Hampshire meetings will coincide with a visit on Tuesday by former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who may challenge Clinton in the Democratic primary. Both O'Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, another potential Democratic candidate, are scheduled to visit Iowa in April.

Mook will be joined by Marlon Marshall, who is expected to play a senior role in Clinton's campaign. Democrats said the trips were not tied to a Clinton announcement but would allow for meetings with key stakeholders in labor and Democratic politics. The visits were reported by WMUR, a TV station in Manchester, New Hampshire, and The Des Moines Register.

In New Hampshire, Mook and Marshall were visiting Concord and Manchester and planned to stay at the homes of Clinton supporters. In Iowa, they were meeting with Democrats in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

"There's no reason for them to come except for the fact that they are interested in Iowa, they're going to be interested in Iowa and they're going to make a big commitment," said Tyler Olson, a former Iowa Democratic Party chairman.

Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short said it was a "troubling sign" for Clinton that she had dispatched aides to reassure Democrats "that they're not about to cough up the ball."

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