Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hilary Clinton - Biography and History

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2001
Serving with Chuck Schumer
Preceded by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Succeeded by Incumbent (2013)

In office
January 20, 1993January 20, 2001
Preceded by Barbara Bush
Succeeded by Laura Bush

Born October 26, 1947 (1947-10-26) (age 60)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse Bill Clinton
Children Chelsea Clinton
Alma mater Wellesley College
Yale Law School
Profession Attorney, Politician
Religion United Methodist
Signature Hillary Rodham Clinton's signature

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is the junior United States Senator from New York, and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. She is married to Bill Clinton—the 42nd President of the United States—and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

A native of Illinois, Hillary Rodham attracted national attention in 1969 when she delivered a controversial address as the first student to speak at commencement exercises for Wellesley College. She began her career as a lawyer after graduating from Yale Law School in 1973, moving to Arkansas and marrying Bill Clinton in 1975, following her career as a Congressional legal counsel; she was named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979 and was listed as one of the one hundred most influential lawyers in America in 1988 and 1991. She was the First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, was active in a number of organizations concerned with the welfare of children, and was on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporate boards.

As First Lady of the United States, she took a prominent position in policy matters. Her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval by the U.S. Congress in 1994, but in 1997 she helped establish the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. She became the only First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury as a consequence of the Whitewater scandal in 1996. She was never charged with any wrongdoing in this or several other investigations during her husband's administration. The state of her marriage to Bill Clinton was the subject of considerable public discussion following the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.

Moving to New York, Clinton was elected to the United States Senate in 2000, the first time an American first lady ran for public office and the first female senator from that state. There she initially supported the George W. Bush administration on some foreign policy issues, which included voting for the Iraq War Resolution. She has subsequently opposed the administration on its conduct of the Iraq War and has opposed it on most domestic issues. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006. Long described as a polarizing figure in American politics, she is the first woman in U.S. history with a strong chance of being elected president. During 2007 she was consistently ranked as the front-runner in national polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. As the 2008 primaries begin, she is in a tight race with Senator Barack Obama.

Contents

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Early life and education

Early life

Hillary[1] Diane Rodham was born at Edgewater Hospital in Chicago, Illinois,[2] and was raised in a United Methodist family,[3] first in Chicago, and then, from the age of three, in suburban Park Ridge, Illinois.[4] Her father, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, was a son of Welsh and English immigrants[5] and operated a small but successful business in the textile industry.[6] Her mother, Dorothy Emma Howell, of English, Scottish, French Canadian, Welsh, and possibly Native American descent,[7] was a homemaker.[4] She has two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony.

As a child, Hillary Rodham was involved in many activities at church and at her public school in Park Ridge. She participated in tennis and other sports and earned awards as a Brownie and Girl Scout.[8] She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in student council, the debating team and the National Honor Society. For her senior year she was redistricted to Maine South High School,[9] where she was a National Merit Finalist and graduated in 1965.[9] Her parents encouraged her to pursue the career of her choice.[10]

Raised in a politically conservative household,[11] at age thirteen she helped canvass South Side Chicago following the very close 1960 U.S. presidential election, finding evidence of vote fraud against Republican candidate Richard Nixon,[12] and volunteered for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the U.S. presidential election of 1964.[13] Her early political development was shaped most strongly by her energizing high school history teacher, like her father a fervent anti-communist, and by her Methodist youth minister, like her mother concerned with issues of social justice; with the minister she saw and met civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in Chicago in 1962.[14][11]

College

In 1965, Rodham enrolled in Wellesley College, where she majored in political science.[15] She served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans organization during her freshman year.[16][17] However, due to her evolving views regarding the American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, she stepped down from that position;[16] she characterized her own nature as that of "a mind conservative and a heart liberal."[18] In her junior year, Rodham was affected by the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.,[8] and became a supporter of the anti-war presidential nomination campaign of Democrat Eugene McCarthy.[19] Rodham organized a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley's black students for moderate changes, such as recruiting more black students and faculty.[20] In that same year she was elected president of the Wellesley College Government Association.[21][22] She attended the "Wellesley in Washington" summer program at the urging of Professor Alan Schechter, who assigned Rodham to intern at the House Republican Conference so she could better understand her changing political views.[20] Rodham was invited by Representative Charles Goodell, a moderate New York Republican, to help Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s late-entry campaign for the Republican nomination.[20] Rodham attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, where she decided to leave the Republican Party for good; she was upset over how Richard Nixon's campaign had portrayed Rockefeller and what Rodham perceived as the "veiled" racist messages of the convention.[20]

Rodham returned to Wellesley, and wrote her senior thesis about the tactics of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky under Professor Schechter (which, years later while she was first lady, was suppressed at the request of the White House and became the subject of speculation as to its contents).[23] In 1969, Rodham graduated with departmental honors in political science. Stemming from the demands of some students,[24] she became the first student in Wellesley College history to deliver their commencement address.[22] According to reports by the Associated Press, her speech received a standing ovation lasting seven minutes.[25][26] She was featured in an article published in Life magazine, due to the response to a part of her speech that criticized Senator Edward Brooke, who had spoken before her at the commencement;[8] she also appeared on Irv Kupcinet's nationally-syndicated television talk show as well as in Illinois and New England newspapers.[27] That summer, she worked her way across Alaska, washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park and sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez (which fired her and shut down overnight when she complained about unhealthy conditions).[28][29]

Law school

Rodham then entered Yale Law School, where she served on the Board of Editors of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action.[30] During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center,[31] learning about new research on early childhood brain development and working as a research assistant on the seminal work, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973).[32][33] She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale-New Haven Hospital,[32] and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free advice for the poor.[31] In the summer of 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at Marian Wright Edelman's Washington Research Project, where she was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, researching migrant workers' problems in housing, sanitation, health and education;[34][35] Edelman would become a significant mentor to her.[35]

In the late spring of 1971, she began dating Bill Clinton, who was also a law student at Yale. That summer, she interned on child custody cases[36] at the Oakland, California, law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein,[37][38] which was well-known for its support of constitutional rights, civil liberties, and radical causes;[38] two of its four partners were current or former communist party members.[38][39][40] Clinton canceled his summer plans to live with her in an apartment in Berkeley, California,[41] later writing, "I told her I'd have the rest of my life for my work and my ambition, but I loved her and I wanted to see if it could work out for us."[41] The romance did develop, and the couple continued living together in New Haven when they returned to law school.[39] The following summer, Rodham and Clinton campaigned in Texas for unsuccessful 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern.[42][43] She received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973,[8] having spent an extra year there in order to be with Clinton.[44] Clinton first proposed marriage to her following graduation, but she declined at the time.[44] She began a year of post-graduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center.[45] Her first scholarly paper, "Children Under the Law", was published in the Harvard Educational Review in late 1973[46] and became frequently cited in the field.

Marriage and family, law career and First Lady of Arkansas

A key decision

During her post-graduate study, Rodham served as staff attorney for Edelman's newly founded Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[47] and as a consultant to the Carnegie Council on Children.[48] During 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.[49][50] Under the guidance of Chief Counsel John Doar and senior member Bernard Nussbaum,[32] Rodham helped research procedures of impeachment and the historical grounds and standards for impeachment.[50] The committee's work culminated in the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.[50]

By then, Rodham was viewed as someone with a bright political future; Democratic political organizer and consultant Betsey Wright had moved from Texas to Washington the previous year to help guide her career;[51] Wright thought Rodham had the potential to one day become a senator or president.[52] Meanwhile, Clinton had repeatedly asked her to marry him, and she had continued to defer.[53] However, helped by her having passed the Arkansas bar exam but having failed the District of Columbia bar exam,[54] Rodham came to a key decision. As she later wrote, "I chose to follow my heart instead of my head."[55] She thus followed Bill Clinton to Arkansas, rather than staying in Washington where career prospects were best. Clinton was at the time teaching law and running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in his home state. In August 1974, she moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and became one of two female faculty members at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville School of Law,[56] where Bill Clinton also taught. Even then, she still harbored doubts about marriage, concerned that her separate identity would be lost and her accomplishments would be viewed in the light of someone else's accomplishments.[57]

Early Arkansas years

The couple bought a house in Fayetteville in the summer of 1975, and she finally agreed to marry him.[58] Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton were married on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their living room.[59] She kept her name as Hillary Rodham, later writing that she had done so to keep their professional lives separate and avoid seeming conflicts of interest, although it upset both their mothers.[60] Bill Clinton had lost the Congressional race in 1974, but in November 1976 was elected Attorney General of Arkansas. This required the couple to move to the state capital of Little Rock.[61] Rodham joined the venerable Rose Law Firm, a bastion of Arkansan political and economic influence,[62] in February 1977,[63] specializing in patent infringement and intellectual property law,[30] while also working pro bono in child advocacy;[64] she rarely performed litigation work in court.[65]

Rodham co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a state-level alliance with the Children's Defense Fund, in 1977.[30][66] In late 1977, President Jimmy Carter (for whom Rodham had done 1976 campaign coordination work in Indiana)[67] appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation,[68] and she served in that capacity from 1978 through the end of 1981.[69] For much of that time[70] she served as the chair of that board, the first woman to do so.[71] During her time as chair, funding for the Corporation was expanded from $90 million to $300 million,[64] and she successfully battled against President Ronald Reagan's initial attempts to reduce the funding and change the nature of the organization.[64]

Following the November 1978 election of her husband as Governor of Arkansas, Rodham became First Lady of Arkansas in January 1979, her title for a total of twelve years (1979–1981, 1983–1992). Clinton appointed her chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee the same year,[72] where she successfully obtained federal funds to expand medical facilities in Arkansas' poorest areas without affecting doctors' fees.[73]

In 1979,[74] she became the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm.[75] From 1978 until they entered the White House, she had a higher salary than her husband.[63] During 1978 and 1979, while looking to supplement their income, Rodham made a spectacular profit from trading cattle futures contracts;[76] her initial $1,000 investment generated nearly $100,000 when she stopped trading after ten months.[77] The couple also began their ill-fated investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation real estate venture with Jim and Susan McDougal at this time.[76]

On February 27, 1980, Rodham gave birth to a daughter, Chelsea, her only child. In November 1980, Bill Clinton was defeated in his bid for re-election.

Later Arkansas years

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1992
Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1992

Bill Clinton returned to the Governor's office two years later by winning the election of 1982. During her husband's campaign, Rodham began to use the name Hillary Clinton, or sometimes "Mrs. Bill Clinton", in order to have greater appeal to Arkansas voters;[78] she also took a leave of absence from Rose Law in order to campaign for him full-time.[79] As First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee from 1982 to 1992,[80] where she sought to bring about reform in the state's court-sanctioned public education system.[81][82] One of the most important initiatives of the entire Clinton governorship,[81] she fought a prolonged but ultimately successful battle against the Arkansas Education Association[81] to put mandatory teacher testing as well as state standards for curriculum and classroom size in place.[81] She introduced Arkansas' Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth in 1985, a program that helps parents work with their children in preschool preparedness and literacy.[83] She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.[84]

Clinton continued to practice law with the Rose Law Firm while she was First Lady of Arkansas. She earned less than all the other partners, due to fewer hours being billed,[85] but still made over $200,000 in her final year there.[74] She continued to rarely do trial work,[74] but was considered a "rainmaker" at the firm for bringing in clients, partly due to the prestige she lent the firm and to her corporate board connections.[74] She was also very influential in the appointment of state judges.[74] Bill Clinton's Republican opponent in his 1986 gubernatorial re-election campaign accused the Clintons of conflict of interest, because Rose Law did state business; the Clintons deflected the charge by saying that state fees were walled off by the firm before her profits were calculated.[86] From 1987 to 1991 she chaired the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession,[87] which addressed gender bias in the law profession and induced the association to adopt measures to combat it.[87] She was twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, in 1988 and in 1991.[88] When Bill Clinton thought about not running again for governor in 1990, Hillary Clinton considered running herself, but private polls were unfavorable and in the end he ran and was re-elected for the final time.[89][90]

Clinton served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services (1988–1992)[91] and the Children's Defense Fund (as chair, 1986–1992).[92][10] In addition to her positions with non-profit organizations, she also held positions on the corporate board of directors of TCBY (1985–1992),[93] Wal-Mart Stores (1986–1992)[94] and Lafarge (1990–1992).[95] TCBY and Wal-Mart were Arkansas-based companies that were also clients of Rose Law.[74][96] Clinton was the first female member on Wal-Mart's board, added when chairman Sam Walton was pressured to name one;[96] once there, she pushed successfully for the chain to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices,[96] pushed largely unsuccessfully for more women to be added to the company's management,[96] and was silent about the company's famously anti-labor union practices.[96][94]

First Lady of the United States

An uncharacteristic First Lady

After her husband became a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination of 1992, Hillary Clinton received popular national attention for the first time. Before the New Hampshire primary, tabloid publications printed claims that Bill Clinton had had an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers, an Arkansas lounge singer.[97] In response, the Clintons appeared together on 60 Minutes, during which Bill Clinton denied the affair but acknowledged he had caused "pain" in their marriage.[98] (Years later, he would admit that the Flowers affair had happened, but to lesser extent than she claimed.)[99] Hillary Clinton made culturally dismissive remarks about Tammy Wynette[100] and baking cookies and having teas[101] during the campaign that were ill-considered by her own admission. Bill Clinton said that electing him would get "two for the price of one", referring to the prominent role his wife would assume.[102]

The Clinton family arrives at the White House courtesy of Marine One, 1993
The Clinton family arrives at the White House courtesy of Marine One, 1993

When Bill Clinton took office as president in January 1993, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the First Lady of the United States, and announced that she would be using that form of her name.[103] She was the initial first lady to hold a post-graduate degree[104] and to have her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House.[105] She was also the initial first lady to take up an office in the West Wing of the White House,[45] first ladies usually staying in the East Wing. She is regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history, save for Eleanor Roosevelt.[106]

Some critics called it inappropriate for the First Lady to play a central role in matters of public policy. Supporters pointed out that Clinton's role in policy was no different from that of other White House advisors and that voters were well aware that she would play an active role in her husband's Presidency.[107] Bill Clinton's campaign promise of "two for the price of one" led opponents to refer derisively to the Clintons as "co-presidents",[108] or sometimes "Billary".[109] The pressures of conflicting ideas about the role of a First Lady were enough to send Clinton into "imaginary discussions" with the also-politically-active Eleanor Roosevelt;[110] from the time she came to Washington, she also found refuge in a prayer group of The Fellowship that featured many wives of conservative Washington figures.[111][112] Triggered in part by the death of her father in April 1993, she publicly sought to find a synthesis of Methodist teachings, liberal religious political philosophy, and Tikkun editor Michael Lerner's "politics of meaning" to overcome what she saw as America's "sleeping sickness of the soul" and that would lead to a willingness "to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the twentieth century, moving into a new millennium."[113][114] Other segments of the public focused on her appearance, which had evolved over time from inattention to fashion during her days in Arkansas,[115] to a popular site in the early days of the World Wide Web devoted to showing her many different, and much analyzed, hairstyles as First Lady,[116][117] to an appearance on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1998.[118]

Health care and other policy initiatives

In 1993, the president appointed his wife to head and be the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, hoping to replicate the success she had in leading the effort for Arkansas education reform.[81] The recommendation of the task force became known as the Clinton health care plan, a complex proposal that would mandate employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. The plan was quickly derided as "Hillarycare" by its opponents; some protesters against it became vitriolic, and during a July 1994 bus tour to rally support for the plan, she was forced to wear a bulletproof vest at times.[119][120] The plan did not receive enough support for a floor vote in either the House or the Senate, although both chambers were controlled by Democrats, and proposal was abandoned in September of 1994.[119] Clinton later acknowledged in her book, Living History, that her political inexperience partly contributed to the defeat, but mentioned that many other factors were also responsible. The First Lady's approval ratings, which had generally been in the high-50s percent range during her first year, fell to 44 percent in April 1994 and 35 percent by September 1994.[121] Republicans made the Clinton health care plan a major campaign issue of the 1994 midterm elections,[122] which saw a net Republican gain of fifty-three seats in the House election and seven in the Senate election, winning control of both; many analysts and pollsters found the plan to be a major factor in the Democrats' defeat, especially among independent voters.[123] Opponents of universal health care would continue to use "Hillarycare" as a pejorative label for similar plans by others.[124]

Clinton reads to a child during a school visit
Clinton reads to a child during a school visit

Along with Senator Ted Kennedy, she was the major force behind the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, a federal effort that provided state support for children whose parents were unable to provide them with health coverage.[125] She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses and encouraged older women to seek a mammogram to detect breast cancer, with coverage provided by Medicare.[126] She successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health.[45] The First Lady worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome.[45] Together with Attorney General Janet Reno, Clinton helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice.[45] In 1997, she initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as First Lady.[45] As First Lady, Clinton hosted numerous White House Conferences, including ones on Child Care (1997),[127] Early Childhood Development and Learning (1997),[128] and Children and Adolescents (2000),[129] and the first-ever White House Conferences on Teenagers (2000)[130] and Philanthropy (1999).[131]

Hillary Clinton traveled to 79 countries during this time,[132] breaking the mark for most-travelled First Lady held by Pat Nixon.[133] In a September 1995 speech before the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Clinton argued very forcefully against practices that abused women around the world and in China itself,[134] declaring "that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights"[134] and resisting Chinese pressure to soften her remarks.[132] She was one of the most prominent international figures at the time to speak out against the treatment of Afghan women by the Islamist fundamentalist Taliban that had seized control of Afghanistan.[135][136] She helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative sponsored by the United States to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.[137]

Whitewater and other investigations

The Whitewater controversy was the focus of media attention from the publication of a New York Times report during the 1992 presidential campaign,[138] and throughout her time as First Lady. The Clintons had lost their late-1970s investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation;[139] at the same time, their partners in that investment, Jim and Susan McDougal, operated Madison Guaranty, a savings and loan institution that retained the legal services of Rose Law Firm[139] and may have been improperly subsidizing Whitewater losses.[138] Madison Guaranty later failed, and Clinton's work at Rose was scrutinized for a possible conflict of interest in representing the bank before state regulators that her husband had appointed;[138] she claimed she had done minimal work for the bank.[140] Independent counsels Robert Fiske and Kenneth Starr subpoenaed Clinton's legal billing records;[141] she claimed to be unable to produce these records.[141] The records were found in the First Lady's White House book room after a two-year search, and delivered to investigators in early 1996.[142] The delayed appearance of the records sparked intense interest and another investigation about how they surfaced and where they had been;[142] Clinton attributed the problem to disorganization that resulted from their move from the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and the effects of a White House renovation.[143] After the discovery of the records, on January 26, 1996, Clinton made history by becoming the first First Lady to be subpoenaed to testify before a Federal grand jury.[144][145][146] After several Independent Counsels investigated, a final report was issued in 2000 which stated that there was insufficient evidence that either Clinton had engaged in criminal wrongdoing.[147]

The First Lady with her family in a 1997 parade
The First Lady with her family in a 1997 parade

Other investigations took place during Hillary Clinton's time as First Lady. Scrutiny of the May 1993 firings of the White House Travel Office employees, an affair that became known as "Travelgate", began with charges that the White House had used alleged financial improprieties in the Travel Office operation as an excuse to replace the office staff and give the White House travel business to Arkansas friends of theirs.[148] Over the years the investigation focused more on whether Hillary Clinton had orchestrated the firings and whether the statements she made to investigating authorities regarding her role in the firings were true.[149] The 2000 final Independent Counsel report found that there was substantial evidence that she was involved in the firings and that she had made "factually false" statements, but that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her.[150] Following deputy White House counsel Vince Foster's July 1993 suicide, allegations were made that Hillary Clinton had ordered the removal of potentially damaging files (related to Whitewater or other matters) from Foster's office on the night of his death.[151] Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated this, and by 1999 Starr was reported to be holding the investigation open, despite his staff having told him there was no case to be made.[152] When Starr's successor Robert Ray issued his final Whitewater reports in 2000, no claims were made against Hillary Clinton regarding this.[153] In March 1994 newspaper reports revealed her spectacular profits from cattle futures trading in 1978–1979;[154] allegations were made of conflict of interest and disguised bribery,[155] and several individuals analyzed her trading records, but no official investigation was made and she was never charged with any wrongdoing.[155] An outgrowth of the Travelgate investigation was the June 1996 discovery of improper White House access to hundreds of FBI background reports on former Republican White House employees, an affair that some called "Filegate";[156] accusations were made that Hillary Clinton had requested these files and that she had recommended hiring an unqualified individual to head the White House Security Office.[157] The 2000 final Independent Counsel report found no substantial or credible evidence that Hillary Clinton had any role or showed any misconduct in the matter.[156]

Lewinsky scandal

In 1998, the Clintons' relationship became the subject of much speculation and gossip when it was revealed that the President had had an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.[158] Events surrounding the Lewinsky scandal eventually led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton. When the allegations against her husband were first made public, Hillary Clinton stated that they were the result of a "vast right-wing conspiracy",[159] characterizing the Lewinsky charges as the latest in a long, organized, collaborative series of charges by Clinton political enemies,[160] rather than any wrongdoing by her husband. She later said that she had been misled by her husband's initial claims that no affair had taken place.[161] After the evidence of President Clinton's encounters with Lewinsky became incontrovertible and he admitted to her his unfaithful behavior, she issued a public statement reaffirming her commitment to their marriage,[162] but privately was reported to be furious at him[163] and was unsure if she wanted to stay in the marriage.[164]

There was a mix of public reactions to Hillary Clinton after this: some women admired her strength and poise in private matters made public, some sympathized with her as a victim of her husband's insensitive behavior, others criticized her as being an enabler to her husband's indiscretions by not obtaining a divorce, while still others accused her of cynically staying in a failed marriage as a way of keeping or even fostering her own political influence.[165] Overall, her public approval ratings in the wake of the revelations shot upward to 71 percent,[166] the highest they had ever been.[167][168] In her 2003 memoir, she would attribute her decision to stay married to love: "No one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met."[169]

Traditional duties

Official portrait as First Lady of the United States. Painted in 2003 by Simmie Knox and unveiled at the White House in 2004.
Official portrait as First Lady of the United States. Painted in 2003 by Simmie Knox and unveiled at the White House in 2004.

Clinton initiated and was Founding Chair of the Save America's Treasures program, a national effort that matched federal funds to private donations for the purpose of preserving and restoring historic items and sites,[170] including the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner and the First Ladies Historic Site in Canton, Ohio.[45] She was head of the White House Millennium Council,[171] and initiated the Millennium Project with monthly lectures that discuss futures studies, one of which became the first live simultaneous webcast from the White House. Clinton also created the first Sculpture Garden there, which displayed large contemporary American works of art loaned from museums in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden.[172]

In the White House, Clinton placed donated handicrafts of contemporary American artisans, such as pottery and glassware, on rotating display in the state rooms.[45] She oversaw the restoration of the Blue Room to be historically authentic to the period of James Monroe,[173] the redecoration of the Treaty Room into the presidential study along nineteenth century lines,[174] and the redecoration of the Map Room to how it looked during World War II.[174] Clinton hosted many large-scale events at the White House, such as a St. Patrick's Day reception, a state dinner for visiting Chinese dignitaries, a contemporary music concert that raised funds for music education in public schools, a New Year's Eve celebration at the turn of the twenty-first century, and a state dinner honoring the bicentennial of the White House in November of 2000.[45]

Senate election of 2000

The long-serving United States Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, announced his retirement in November 1998. Several prominent Democratic figures, including Representative Charles Rangel of New York, urged Clinton to run for Moynihan's open seat in the United States Senate election of 2000.[175][176] When she decided to run, Clinton and her husband purchased a home in Chappaqua, New York, north of New York City in September 1999.[177] She became the first First Lady of the United States to be a candidate for elected office. At first, Clinton was expected to face Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of New York City, as her Republican opponent in the election. However, Giuliani withdrew from the race after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and Clinton instead faced Rick Lazio, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives representing New York's 2nd congressional district. Throughout the campaign and during debates, Clinton was accused of carpetbagging by her opponents, as she had never resided in New York nor participated in the state's politics prior to this race. However, there was precedent for her action: New York had elected Robert F. Kennedy senator in 1964 despite similar accusations.[178] Clinton began her campaign by visiting every county in the state, in a "listening tour" of small-group settings.[179] During the campaign, she devoted considerable time in traditionally Republican Upstate New York regions.[180] Clinton vowed to improve the economic situation in those areas, promising to deliver 200,000 jobs to the state over her term. Her plan included specific tax credits to reward job creation and encourage business investment, especially in the high-tech sector. She called for personal tax cuts for college tuition and long-term care.[180]

The contest drew national attention and both candidates were well-funded. Clinton secured a broad base of support, including endorsements from conservation groups[181] and organized labor,[182] but not the New York City police and firefighters' unions.[183][184] By the date of the election, the campaigns of Clinton and Lazio, along with Giuliani's initial effort, had spent a combined $78 million.[180] Clinton won the election on November 7, 2000, with 55 percent of the vote to Lazio's 43 percent.[185] She was sworn in as United States Senator on January 3, 2001.

United States Senator

Re-enactment of Hillary Rodham Clinton being sworn in as a United States Senator by Vice President Al Gore in the Old Senate Chamber, as President Clinton and daughter Chelsea look on. January 3, 2001.
Re-enactment of Hillary Rodham Clinton being sworn in as a United States Senator by Vice President Al Gore in the Old Senate Chamber, as President Clinton and daughter Chelsea look on. January 3, 2001.

First term

Upon entering the United States Senate, Clinton maintained a low public profile while building relationships with senators from both parties, to avoid the polarizing celebrity she experienced as First Lady.[105][186][187][188] Clinton also forged alliances with religiously-inclined senators by becoming a regular participant in the Senate Prayer Breakfast.[111][189]

Clinton has served on five Senate committees: Committee on Budget (2001–2002),[190] Committee on Armed Services (since 2003),[191] Committee on Environment and Public Works (since 2001),[190] Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (since 2001)[190] and Special Committee on Aging.[192] She is also a Commissioner of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe[193] (since 2001).[194]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Clinton sought to obtain funding for the recovery efforts in New York City and security improvements in her state. Working with New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, she was instrumental in quickly securing $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site's redevelopment.[195][196][197] She subsequently took a leading role in investigating the health issues faced by 9/11 first responders.[198] Clinton voted for the USA Patriot Act in October 2001, as did all but one senator. In 2005, when the act was up for renewal, she worked to address some of the civil liberties concerns with it,[199] before voting in favor of a compromise renewed act in March 2006 that gained large majority support.[200]

As a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Clinton strongly supported military action in Afghanistan, saying it was a chance to combat terrorism while improving the lives of Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban government.[201] Clinton voted in favor of the October 2002 Iraq War Resolution, which authorized United States President George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq, should such action be required to enforce a United Nations Security Council Resolution after pursuing with diplomatic efforts. (However, Clinton voted against the Levin Amendment to the Resolution, which would have required the President to conduct vigorous diplomacy at the U.N., and would have also required a separate Congressional authorization to unilaterally invade Iraq.[191] She did vote for the Byrd Amendment to the Resolution, which would have limited the Congressional authorization to one year increments, but the only mechanism necessary for the President to renew his mandate without any Congressional oversight was to claim that the Iraq War was vital to national security each year the authorization required renewal.)[191]

After the Iraq War began, Clinton made trips to both Iraq and Afghanistan to visit American troops stationed there, such as the 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York. On a visit to Iraq in February 2005, Clinton noted that the insurgency had failed to disrupt the democratic elections held earlier, and that parts of the country were functioning well.[202] Noting that war deployments are draining regular and reserve forces, she co-introduced legislation to increase the size of the regular United States Army by 80,000 soldiers to ease the strain.[203] In late 2005, Clinton said that while immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake, Bush's pledge to stay "until the job is done" is also misguided, as it gives Iraqis "an open-ended invitation not to take care of themselves." She criticized the administration for making poor decisions in the war, but added that it was more important to solve the problems in Iraq.[204] This centrist and somewhat vague stance caused frustration among those in the Democratic party who favor immediate withdrawal.[205] Clinton supported retaining and improving health benefits for veterans, and lobbied against the closure of several military bases.[206]

Senator Clinton voted against the tax cuts introduced by President Bush, including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, saying it was fiscally irresponsible to reopen the budget deficit.

Senator Clinton delivers an address to Families USA, 2005
Senator Clinton delivers an address to Families USA, 2005

Clinton voted in 2005 against the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States,[207] and in 2006 against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court; [208] both were confirmed. In 2005, Clinton called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how hidden sex scenes showed up in the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.[209] Along with Senators Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh, she introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, intended to protect children from inappropriate content found in video games. In July 2004 and June 2006, Clinton voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment that sought to prohibit same-sex marriage. The proposed constitutional amendment fell well short of passage on both occasions.

Looking to establish a "progressive infrastructure" to rival that of American conservatism,[210] Clinton played a formative role in conversations that led to the 2003 founding of former Clinton administration chief of staff John Podesta's Center for American Progress;[211][212] shared aides with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, founded in 2003;[213] advised and nurtured the Clintons' former antagonist David Brock's Media Matters for America, created in 2004;[213][212] and following the 2004 Senate elections, successfully pushed new Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid to create a Senate war room to handle daily political messaging.[213]

Reelection campaign of 2006

Campaign logo used by Senator Clinton
Campaign logo used by Senator Clinton

In November 2004, Clinton announced that she would seek a second term in the United States Senate. The early frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, withdrew from the contest after several months of poor campaign performance.[214] Clinton easily won the Democratic nomination over opposition from anti-war activist Jonathan Tasini.[215] Clinton's eventual opponents in the general election were Republican candidate John Spencer, a former mayor of Yonkers, along with several third-party candidates. Throughout the campaign, Clinton consistently led Spencer in the polls by wide margins. She won the election on 7 November with 67 percent of the vote to Spencer's 31 percent,[216] carrying all but four of New York's sixty-two counties.[217] Clinton spent $36 million towards her reelection, more than any other candidate for Senate in the 2006 elections. She was criticized by some Democrats for spending too much in a one-sided contest, while some supporters were concerned she did not leave more funds for a potential presidential bid in 2008.[218] In the following months she transferred $10 million of her Senate funds towards her now-official presidential campaign.[219]

Second term

Senator Clinton listens as Chief of Naval Operations Navy Admiral Mike Mullen responds to a question during his 2007 confirmation hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senator Clinton listens as Chief of Naval Operations Navy Admiral Mike Mullen responds to a question during his 2007 confirmation hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Clinton opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and supported a February 2007 non-binding Senate resolution against it, which failed to gain cloture.[220] In March 2007 she voted in favor of a war spending bill that required President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within a certain deadline; it passed almost completely along party lines[221] but was subsequently vetoed by President Bush. In May 2007 a compromise war funding bill that removed withdrawal deadlines but tied funding to progress benchmarks for the Iraqi government passed the Senate by a vote of 80-14 and would be signed by Bush; Clinton was one of those who voted against it.[222] Clinton responded to General David Petraeus's September 2007 Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq by saying, "I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief."[223] In September 2007 she voted in favor of a Senate resolution calling on the State Department to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps "a foreign terrorist organization", which passed 76-22.[224]

In March 2007, in response to the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy, Clinton called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign,[225] and launched an Internet campaign to gain petition signatures towards this end.[226] In May and June 2007, regarding the high-profile, hotly debated comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, Clinton cast a number of votes in support of the bill, which eventually failed to gain cloture.[227]

Clinton has enjoyed high approval ratings for her job as senator within New York, reaching an all-time high of 72 to 74 percent approving (including half of Republicans) over 23 to 24 percent disapproving in December 2006, before her presidential campaign became active;[228][229] by August 2007, after a half year of campaigning, it was still 64 percent over 34 percent.[230]

Presidential campaign of 2008

Clinton had been mentioned as a potential candidate for United States President since at least October 2002.[231] She has been ranked among the world's most powerful people by Forbes magazine[232] and Time magazine's Time 100.[233] On January 20, 2007, Clinton announced on her Web site the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, with the intention to become a candidate for president in the United States presidential election of 2008. In her announcement, she stated, "I'm in. And I'm in to win."[234] No woman has ever been nominated by a major party for President of the United States,[235] and Clinton is the first woman seen to have a good chance of winning a nomination.[235][236]

Clinton led the field of candidates competing for the Democratic nomination in opinion polls for the election throughout the first half of 2007. Most polls placed Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina as Clinton's closest competitors in the early caucus and primary election states.[237][238] Clinton set records for early fundraising,[219] which Obama then topped in the following months[239] before Clinton later regained the money lead;[240] but Clinton generally maintained her lead in the polls.[241][242]

In April 2007, the Clintons liquidated a blind trust that had been established when he became president in 1993, in order to avoid the possibility of ethical conflicts or political embarrassments in the trust as Hillary Clinton undertook her presidential race;[243][244] later disclosure statements revealed that the couple's worth was now upwards of $50 million.[244] In late August 2007, a major contributor to, and "bundler" for, Clinton's campaign, called a "HillRaiser", Norman Hsu, was revealed to be a 15-years-long fugitive in an investment fraud case.[245] He was also suspected of having broken campaign finance law regarding his bundling collections.[246] The Clinton campaign first said it would donate to charity the $23,000 that Hsu personally contributed to her, [247] then said it would refund to 260 donors the full $850,000 in bundled donations raised by Hsu.[248] Hsu was subsequently indicted on new investment fraud charges.

By September 2007, opinion polling in the first six states holding Democratic primaries or caucuses showed that Clinton was leading in all of them, with the races being closest in Iowa and South Carolina. By October 2007, national polls had Clinton far ahead of any Democratic competitor.[249] At the end of October, Clinton suffered what writers for The Washington Post, ABC News, The Politico, and other outlets characterized as a rare poor debate performance as she was attacked by Obama, Edwards, and her other opponents.[250][251][252] Subsequently, the race tightened considerably, especially in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, with Clinton losing her lead in some polls by December.[253]

In the first vote of 2008, she placed third with 29 percent of the state delegate selections in the January 3, 2008 Iowa Democratic caucus to Obama's 38 percent and Edwards' 30 percent.[254] Obama led polls in New Hampshire and gained ground in national polling in the next few days, with a double digit victory predicted by several highly publicized polls for the New Hampshire primary[255] and all major polls predicting an Obama victory, with an average of 8.3 point margin.[256] However, Clinton gained a surprise win[257] in the New Hampshire primary on January 8,[258] defeating Obama by 39 percent to 37 percent,[259] and in the process becoming the first woman to win a presidential party primary in United States history.[255] Explanations for her comeback varied but often centered on her being seen more sympathetically, especially by women, after choking up while responding to a voter's question the day before the election.[260]

Political positions

In terms of public perception of her views, in a Gallup poll conducted during May 2005, 54% of respondents considered Senator Clinton a liberal, 30% considered her a moderate, and 9% considered her a conservative.[261]

Several organizations have attempted to scientifically measure her place on the political spectrum:

Various interest groups have given Senator Clinton scores or grades as to how well her votes align with the positions of the group:

Ratings of Clinton's votes from a number of other interest groups are tracked by Project Vote Smart.[274]

Writings and recordings

Front cover of It Takes a Village
Front cover of It Takes a Village

As First Lady of the United States, Clinton published a weekly syndicated newspaper column titled "Talking It Over" from 1995 to 2000, distributed by Creators Syndicate.[275] It focused on her experiences and those of women, children and families she encountered during her travels around the world.[10]

In 1996, Clinton presented a vision for the children of America in the book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. The book was a New York Times Best Seller,[276] and Clinton received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997 for the book's audio recording.[276] The title refers to an African proverb that states "It takes a village to raise a child".

Clinton's autobiography Living History
Clinton's autobiography Living History

Other books released by Clinton when she was First Lady include Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets (1998) and An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History (2000). In 2001, she wrote the foreword to the children's book Beatrice's Goat.

In 2003, Clinton released a 562-page autobiography, Living History. In anticipation of high sales, publisher Simon & Schuster paid Clinton a near-record advance of $8 million.[277] The book set a first-week sales record for a non-fiction work,[278] went on to sell more than one million copies in the first month following publication,[279] and was translated into twelve foreign languages.[280] Clinton's audio recording of the book earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Album.[281]

Cultural and political image

Observers have consistently characterized Hillary Clinton as a polarizing figure in American politics. By 1992, during her husband's presidential campaign, a reporter asked her, "Some people think of you as an inspiring female attorney mother, and other people think of you as the overbearing yuppie wife from hell. How would you describe yourself?"[282] Political operatives said she could be easily seen as either a positive role model or a nagging "hall monitor" type.[282] The polarized response to Clinton ran along both political and cultural lines. In 1995, after the failure of her health care reform initiative, New York Times reporter Todd Purdum labelled Hillary Clinton "a complex and polarizing figure in public opinion," and "the First Lady as Rorschach test;"[283] the latter assessment was echoed by feminist writer and activist Betty Friedan.[284]

In part, this led from her background and her new role. Colorado State University communication studies professor Karrin Vasby Anderson describes the First Lady position as a "site" for American womanhood, one ready made for the symbolic negotiation of female identity.[285] In particular there has been a cultural bias towards traditional first ladies and a cultural prohibition against modern first ladies; by the time of Clinton, the First Lady position had become a site of heterogeneity and paradox.[285] Nowhere was this paradox more evident than when Clinton achieved her highest approval ratings as First Lady late in 1998, not for any professional or political achievement of her own but for being seen as the victim of her husband's very public infidelity.[167] University of Pennsylvania communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson saw Hillary Clinton as an exemplar of the double bind, who though able to live in a "both-and" world of both career and family, nevertheless "became a surrogate on whom we projected our attitudes about attributes once thought incompatible," leading to her being placed in a variety of no-win situations.[284] The world of political cartoons also played in the symbolic negotiation: University of Indianapolis English professor Charlotte Templin found cartoonists using a variety of stereotypes such as gender reversal, radical feminist as emasculator, and the wife the husband wants to get rid of, to portray Hillary Clinton as violating gender norms.[286]

Over fifty books and scholarly works have been written about Hillary Clinton, from many different angles. There has been a cottage industry in attack books against her, put out by Regnery Publishing and its brethren, with lurid subtitles such as Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House, Hillary's Scheme: Inside the Next Clinton's Ruthless Agenda to Take the White House, and Can She Be Stopped? : Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless ....[287] When she ran for Senate in 2000, a number of fundraising groups with dire-sounding names such as Save Our Senate and the Emergency Committee to Stop Hillary Rodham Clinton sprang up.[288] She was a reliable bogeyman of Republican and conservative fundraising letters, on a par with Ted Kennedy and the equivalent of Democratic beggings to fear about Newt Gingrich.[289]

By the 2000s she had escaped the First Lady role for the Senate, but her polarizing image largely remained. In 2006, before her presidential campaign began in earnest, Time magazine's Ana Marie Cox said "she may be the most polarizing figure on the current political landscape,"[290] NPR's Daniel Schorr said that, in light of her qualities as a public figure and candidate, her polarizing force made her the "great political paradox of our time,"[291] and historian Gil Troy titled his biography of her Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady.[292] A Time magazine cover that year showed a large picture of her, with two checkboxes labeled "Love Her", "Hate Her",[293] while Mother Jones titled its Jack Hitt-written profile of her "Harpy, Hero, Heretic: Hillary".[294] A typical public opinion poll reporting Hillary Clinton's favorability versus unfavorability showed large percentages in both camps, few undecided, and none who did not know who she is.[295] By the time of her presidential campaign for 2008, however, there were a few signs that her polarizing quality be abating. Democratic netroots activists consistently rated Clinton very low in polls of their desired candidates,[296] while some conservative figures such as Bruce Bartlett and Christopher Ruddy were declaring a Hillary Clinton presidency not so bad after all[297][298] and an October 2007 cover of The American Conservative magazine was titled "The Waning Power of Hillary Hate".[299]

Awards and honors

Clinton has received over a dozen awards and honors during her career, from both American and international organizations, for her activities concerning health, women, and children.

Electoral history

New York United States Senate election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%

Democratic Hillary Rodham Clinton 3,747,310 55.3

Republican Rick Lazio 2,915,730 43.0
New York United States Senate election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%

Democratic Hillary Rodham Clinton
(Incumbent)
3,008,428 67.0 +11.7

Republican John Spencer 1,392,189 31.0 -12.0


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