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Hillary Clinton

American politician

Top 10 Hillary Clinton related articles

Hillary Clinton
Clinton in 2016
67th United States Secretary of State
In office
January 21, 2009 – February 1, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Deputy
Preceded byCondoleezza Rice
Succeeded byJohn Kerry
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 21, 2009
Preceded byDaniel Patrick Moynihan
Succeeded byKirsten Gillibrand
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byBarbara Bush
Succeeded byLaura Bush
11th Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast
Assumed office
January 2, 2020
Preceded byThomas J. Moran
First Lady of Arkansas
In role
January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
GovernorBill Clinton
Preceded byGay Daniels White
Succeeded byBetty Tucker
In role
January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981
GovernorBill Clinton
Preceded byBarbara Pryor
Succeeded byGay Daniels White
Personal details
Born
Hillary Diane Rodham

(1947-10-26) October 26, 1947 (age 72)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (1968–present)
Other political
affiliations
Republican (before 1968)
Spouse(s)
Bill Clinton (m. 1975)
ChildrenChelsea Clinton
Parents
ResidenceChappaqua, New York, U.S.
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationWellesley College (BA)
Yale University (JD)
Net worthUS$45 million (October 2015)[1]
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton[2] (née Rodham; born October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker. She served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, as United States senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, and as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party when she won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. She was the first woman to win the popular vote in an American presidential election, which she lost to Donald Trump.

Raised in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Clinton graduated from Wellesley College in 1969, and earned a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School in 1973. After serving as a congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas and married future president Bill Clinton in 1975; the two had met at Yale. In 1977, she co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She was appointed the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978, and became the first female partner at Little Rock's Rose Law Firm the following year. Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992. As First Lady of the United States, Clinton advocated for healthcare reform. In 1994, her major initiative—the Clinton health care plan—failed to gain approval from Congress. In 1997 and 1999, Clinton played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. Her marital relationship came under public scrutiny during the Lewinsky scandal, which led her to issue a statement that reaffirmed her commitment to the marriage.

In 2000, Clinton was elected as the first female senator from New York. She was re-elected in 2006. During her Senate tenure, Clinton advocated for medical benefits for first responders whose health was damaged in the September 11 attacks.[3] In 2008, Clinton ran for president but was defeated by eventual winner Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries. Clinton was U.S. secretary of state in the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2013. During her tenure, Clinton responded to the Arab Spring by advocating military intervention in Libya. She was harshly criticized by Republicans for the failure to prevent or adequately respond to the 2012 Benghazi attack. Clinton helped to organize a diplomatic isolation and a regime of international sanctions against Iran in an effort to force it to curtail its nuclear program; this effort eventually led to the multinational Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement in 2015. Her use of a private e-mail server during her time as Secretary of State was the subject of intense scrutiny; while no charges were filed against Clinton, the e-mail controversy was the single most covered topic during the 2016 presidential election. Upon leaving her Cabinet position after Obama's first term, she wrote her fifth book, and undertook speaking engagements.

Clinton made a second presidential run in 2016. After winning the Democratic nomination, she ran in the general election with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Clinton lost the presidential election to Republican opponent Donald Trump in the Electoral College despite winning a plurality of the popular vote. Following her loss, she wrote her third memoir, What Happened, and launched Onward Together, a political action organization dedicated to fundraising for progressive political groups. She is the current Chancellor of Queen's University Belfast in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Hillary Clinton Intro articles: 48

Early life and education

Early life

Mementos of Hillary Rodham's early life, shown at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center

Hillary Diane Rodham was born on October 26, 1947, at Edgewater Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.[4][5] She was raised in a United Methodist family who first lived in Chicago. When she was three years old, her family moved to the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.[6] Her father, Hugh Rodham, was of English and Welsh descent,[7] and managed a small but successful textile business, which he had founded.[8] Her mother, Dorothy Howell, was a homemaker of Dutch, English, French Canadian (from Quebec), Scottish, and Welsh descent.[7][9][10] Clinton has two younger brothers, Hugh and Tony.[11]

Rodham in sixth grade.
Rodham in Maine South High School's 1965 yearbook.

As a child, Rodham was a favorite student among her teachers at the public schools she attended in Park Ridge.[12] She participated in swimming and softball and earned numerous badges as a Brownie and a Girl Scout.[12] She has often told the story[13][14][15] of being inspired by U.S. efforts during the Space Race and sending a letter to NASA around 1961 asking what she could do to become an astronaut, only to be informed that women were not being accepted into the program.[16] She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in the student council and school newspaper and was selected for the National Honor Society.[4][17] She was elected class vice president for her junior year but then lost the election for class president for her senior year against two boys, one of whom told her that "you are really stupid if you think a girl can be elected president".[18] For her senior year, she and other students were transferred to the then-new Maine South High School. There she was a National Merit Finalist and was voted "most likely to succeed." She graduated in 1965 in the top five percent of her class.[19]

Rodham's mother wanted her to have an independent, professional career.[10] Her father, who was otherwise a traditionalist, felt that his daughter's abilities and opportunities should not be limited by gender.[20] She was raised in a politically conservative household,[10] and she helped canvass Chicago's South Side at age 13 after the very close 1960 U.S. presidential election. She saw evidence of electoral fraud (such as voting list entries showing addresses that were empty lots) against Republican candidate Richard Nixon,[21] and later volunteered to campaign for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election.[22]

Rodham's early political development was shaped mostly by her high school history teacher (like her father, a fervent anti-communist), who introduced her to Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative and by her Methodist youth minister (like her mother, concerned with issues of social justice), with whom she saw and afterwards briefly met, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. at a 1962 speech in Chicago's Orchestra Hall.[23]

Wellesley College years

In 1965, Rodham enrolled at Wellesley College, where she majored in political science.[24][25] During her first year, she was president of the Wellesley Young Republicans.[26][27] As the leader of this "Rockefeller Republican"-oriented group,[28] she supported the elections of moderate Republicans John Lindsay to mayor of New York City and Massachusetts attorney general Edward Brooke to the United States Senate.[29] She later stepped down from this position. In 2003 Clinton would write that her views concerning the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War were changing in her early college years.[26] In a letter to her youth minister at that time, she described herself as "a mind conservative and a heart liberal".[30] In contrast to the factions in the 1960s that advocated radical actions against the political system, she sought to work for change within it.[31][32]

By her junior year, Rodham became a supporter of the antiwar presidential nomination campaign of Democrat Eugene McCarthy.[33] In early 1968 she was elected president of the Wellesley College Government Association, a position she held until early 1969.[31][34] Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Rodham organized a two-day student strike and worked with Wellesley's black students to recruit more black students and faculty.[33] In her student government role, she played a role in keeping Wellesley from being embroiled in the student disruptions common to other colleges.[31][35] A number of her fellow students thought she might some day become the first female president of the United States.[31]

To help her better understand her changing political views, Professor Alan Schechter assigned Rodham to intern at the House Republican Conference, and she attended the "Wellesley in Washington" summer program.[33] Rodham was invited by moderate New York Republican representative Charles Goodell to help Governor Nelson Rockefeller's late-entry campaign for the Republican nomination.[33] Rodham attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. However, she was upset by the way Richard Nixon's campaign portrayed Rockefeller and by what she perceived as the convention's "veiled" racist messages, and she left the Republican Party for good.[33] Rodham wrote her senior thesis, a critique of the tactics of radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, under Professor Schechter.[36] (Years later, while she was the first lady, access to her thesis was restricted at the request of the White House and it became the subject of some speculation. The thesis was later released.[36])

In 1969, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts,[37] with departmental honors in political science.[36] After some fellow seniors requested that the college administration allow a student speaker at commencement, she became the first student in Wellesley College history to speak at the event. Her address followed that of the commencement speaker, Senator Edward Brooke.[34][38] After her speech, she received a standing ovation that lasted seven minutes.[31][39][40] She was featured in an article published in Life magazine,[41][42] because of the response to a part of her speech that criticized Senator Brooke.[38] She also appeared on Irv Kupcinet's nationally syndicated television talk show as well as in Illinois and New England newspapers.[43] She was asked to speak at the 50th anniversary convention of the League of Women Voters in Washington, D.C., the next year.[44] 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).[45]

Yale Law School and postgraduate studies

Rodham then entered Yale Law School, where she was on the editorial board of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action.[46] During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center,[47] 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).[48][49] She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale–New Haven Hospital,[48] and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free legal advice for the poor.[47] 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. There she researched various migrant workers' issues including education, health and housing.[50] Edelman later became a significant mentor.[51] Rodham was recruited by political advisor Anne Wexler to work on the 1970 campaign of Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Duffey. Rodham later crediting Wexler with providing her first job in politics.[52]

In the spring of 1971, she began dating fellow law student Bill Clinton. During the summer, she interned at the Oakland, California, law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein. The firm was well known for its support of constitutional rights, civil liberties and radical causes (two of its four partners were current or former Communist Party members);[53] Rodham worked on child custody and other cases.[a] Clinton canceled his original summer plans and moved to live with her in California;[57] the couple continued living together in New Haven when they returned to law school.[54] The following summer, Rodham and Clinton campaigned in Texas for unsuccessful 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern.[58] She received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973,[37] having stayed on an extra year to be with Clinton.[59] He first proposed marriage to her following graduation, but she declined, uncertain if she wanted to tie her future to his.[59]

Rodham began a year of postgraduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center.[60] In late 1973 her first scholarly article, "Children Under the Law", was published in the Harvard Educational Review.[61] Discussing the new children's rights movement, the article stated that "child citizens" were "powerless individuals"[62] and argued that children should not be considered equally incompetent from birth to attaining legal age, but instead that courts should presume competence on a case-by-case basis, except when there is evidence otherwise.[63] The article became frequently cited in the field.[64]

Hillary Clinton Early life and education articles: 84

Marriage, family, law career and first ladyship of Arkansas

From the East Coast to Arkansas

During her postgraduate studies, Rodham was staff attorney for Edelman's newly founded Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[65] and as a consultant to the Carnegie Council on Children.[66] In 1974, she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., and advised the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.[67] Under the guidance of Chief Counsel John Doar and senior member Bernard W. Nussbaum,[48] Rodham helped research procedures of impeachment and the historical grounds and standards for it.[67] The committee's work culminated with the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.[67]

By then, Rodham was viewed as someone with a bright political future. Democratic political organizer and consultant Betsey Wright moved from Texas to Washington the previous year to help guide Rodham's career.[68] Wright thought Rodham had the potential to become a future senator or president.[69] Meanwhile, boyfriend Bill Clinton had repeatedly asked Rodham to marry him, but she continued to demur.[70] After failing the District of Columbia bar exam[71] and passing the Arkansas exam, Rodham came to a key decision. As she later wrote, "I chose to follow my heart instead of my head".[72] She thus followed Clinton to Arkansas, rather than staying in Washington, where career prospects were brighter. He was then teaching law and running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in his home state. In August 1974, Rodham moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and became one of only two female faculty members in the School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.[73][74]

Early Arkansas years

At the university, Rodham taught classes in criminal law. She was considered a rigorous teacher who was tough with her grades.[75] Rodham became the first director of a new legal aid clinic at the school, where she secured support from the local bar association and gained federal funding.[76] As a court-appointed lawyer, Rodham was required to act as defense counsel to a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl; after her request to be relieved of the assignment failed, Rodham used an effective defense and counseled her client to plead guilty to a lesser charge. She has called the trial a "terrible case".[77] During her time in Fayetteville, Rodham and several other women founded the city's first rape crisis center.[76] Rodham still harbored doubts about getting married; she was concerned that her separate identity would be lost, and that her accomplishments would be viewed in light of someone else.[78]

In 1974, Bill Clinton lost an Arkansas congressional race, facing incumbent Republican John Paul Hammerschmidt.[79] Rodham and Bill Clinton bought a house in Fayetteville in the summer of 1975 and she agreed to marry him.[80] The wedding took place on October 11, 1975, in a Methodist ceremony in their living room.[81] A story about the marriage in the Arkansas Gazette indicated that she decided to retain the name Hillary Rodham.[81][82] Her motivation was threefold. She wanted to keep the couple's professional lives separate, avoid apparent conflicts of interest, and as she told a friend at the time, "it showed that I was still me".[83] The decision upset both mothers, who were more traditional.[84]

In 1976, Rodham temporarily relocated to Indianapolis to work as an Indiana state campaign organizer for the presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter.[85][86] In November 1976, Bill Clinton was elected Arkansas attorney general, and the couple moved to the state capital of Little Rock.[79] In February 1977, Rodham joined the venerable Rose Law Firm, a bastion of Arkansan political and economic influence.[87] She specialized in patent infringement and intellectual property law[46] while working pro bono in child advocacy;[88] she rarely performed litigation work in court.[89]

Rodham maintained her interest in children's law and family policy, publishing the scholarly articles "Children's Policies: Abandonment and Neglect" in 1977[90] and "Children's Rights: A Legal Perspective" in 1979.[91] The latter continued her argument that children's legal competence depended upon their age and other circumstances and that in serious medical rights cases, judicial intervention was sometimes warranted. An American Bar Association chair later said, "Her articles were important, not because they were radically new but because they helped formulate something that had been inchoate."[63] Historian Garry Wills would later describe her as "one of the more important scholar-activists of the last two decades".[92] Conservatives said her theories would usurp traditional parental authority,[93] would allow children to file frivolous lawsuits against their parents,[63] and exemplified critical legal studies run amok.[94]

Hillary and Bill lived in this house in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood while he was Arkansas Attorney General (1977–1979).[95]

In 1977, Rodham cofounded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a state-level alliance with the Children's Defense Fund.[46][96] Later that year, President Jimmy Carter (for whom Rodham had been the 1976 campaign director of field operations in Indiana)[97] appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation.[98] She held that position from 1978 until the end of 1981.[99] From mid-1978 to mid-1980,[b] she was the chair of that board, the first woman to hold the job.[100] During her time as chair, funding for the corporation was expanded from $90 million to $300 million; subsequently, she successfully fought President Ronald Reagan's attempts to reduce the funding and change the nature of the organization.[88]

Following her husband's November 1978 election as governor of Arkansas, Rodham became that state's first lady in January 1979. She would hold that title for twelve nonconsecutive years (1979–81, 1983–92). Clinton appointed his wife to be the chair of the Rural Health Advisory Committee the same year,[101] where she secured federal funds to expand medical facilities in Arkansas's poorest areas without affecting doctors' fees.[102]

In 1979, Rodham became the first woman to be made a full partner in Rose Law Firm.[103] From 1978 until they entered the White House, she had a higher salary than her husband.[104] During 1978 and 1979, while looking to supplement their income, Rodham engaged in the trading of cattle futures contracts;[105] an initial $1,000 investment generated nearly $100,000 when she stopped trading after ten months.[106] At this time, the couple began their ill-fated investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation real estate venture with Jim and Susan McDougal.[105] Both of these became subjects of controversy in the 1990s.

On February 27, 1980, Rodham gave birth to the couple's only child, a daughter whom they named Chelsea. In November 1980, Bill Clinton was defeated in his bid for re-election.[107]

Later Arkansas years

Bill and Hillary Clinton with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan

Two years after leaving office, Bill Clinton returned to his job as governor of Arkansas after he won the election of 1982. During her husband's campaign, Hillary began to use the name "Hillary Clinton", or sometimes "Mrs. Bill Clinton", to assuage the concerns of Arkansas voters; she also took a leave of absence from Rose Law to campaign for him full-time.[108] During her second stint as the first lady of Arkansas, she made a point of using Hillary Rodham Clinton as her name.[c] She was named chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee in 1983, where she sought to reform the state's court-sanctioned public education system.[114][115] In one of the Clinton governorship's most important initiatives, she fought a prolonged but ultimately successful battle against the Arkansas Education Association to establish mandatory teacher testing and state standards for curriculum and classroom size.[101][114] It became her introduction into the politics of a highly visible public policy effort.[82][114] In 1985, she introduced Arkansas's Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth, a program that helps parents work with their children in preschool preparedness and literacy.[116] She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.[117][118]

Clinton continued to practice law with the Rose Law Firm while she was the first lady of Arkansas. She earned less than the other partners, as she billed fewer hours[119] but still made more than $200,000 in her final year there.[120] The firm considered her a "rainmaker" because she brought in clients, partly thanks to the prestige she lent it and to her corporate board connections. She was also very influential in the appointment of state judges.[120] 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 countered the charge by saying that state fees were walled off by the firm before her profits were calculated.[121]

From 1982 to 1988, Clinton was on the board of directors, sometimes as chair, of the New World Foundation,[122] which funded a variety of New Left interest groups.[123] From 1987 to 1991, she was the first chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession, created to address gender bias in the legal profession and induce the association to adopt measures to combat it.[124] She was twice named by The National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America—in 1988 and in 1991.[125] When Bill Clinton thought about not running again for governor in 1990, Hillary Clinton considered running. Private polls were unfavorable, however, and in the end he ran and was re-elected for the final time.[126]

Clinton in 1992

Clinton was chairman of the board of the Children's Defense Fund[4][127] and on the board of the Arkansas Children's Hospital's Legal Services (1988–92)[128] In addition to her positions with nonprofit organizations, she also held positions on the corporate board of directors of TCBY (1985–92),[129] Wal-Mart Stores (1986–92)[130] and Lafarge (1990–92).[131] TCBY and Wal-Mart were Arkansas-based companies that were also clients of Rose Law.[120][132] Clinton was the first female member on Wal-Mart's board, added following pressure on chairman Sam Walton to name a woman to it.[132] Once there, she pushed successfully for Wal-Mart to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. She was largely unsuccessful in her campaign for more women to be added to the company's management and was silent about the company's famously anti-labor union practices.[130][132][133] According to Dan Kaufman, awareness of this later became a factor in her loss of credibility with organized labor, helping contribute to her loss in the 2016 election, where slightly less than half of union members voted for Donald Trump.[134][135]

Bill Clinton presidential campaign of 1992

Clinton received sustained national attention for the first time when her husband became a candidate for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. Before the New Hampshire primary, tabloid publications printed allegations that Bill Clinton had engaged in an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers.[136] In response, the Clintons appeared together on 60 Minutes, where Bill denied the affair, but acknowledged "causing pain in my marriage".[137] This joint appearance was credited with rescuing his campaign.[138] During the campaign, Hillary made culturally disparaging remarks about Tammy Wynette's outlook on marriage as described in her classic song "Stand by Your Man".[d] Later in the campaign, she commented she could have chosen to be like women staying home and baking cookies and having teas, but wanted to pursue her career instead.[e] The remarks were widely criticized, particularly by those who were, or defended, stay-at-home mothers. In retrospect, she admitted they were ill-considered. Bill said that in electing him, the nation would "get two for the price of one", referring to the prominent role his wife would assume.[144] Beginning with Daniel Wattenberg's August 1992 The American Spectator article "The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock", Hillary's own past ideological and ethical record came under attack from conservatives.[93] At least twenty other articles in major publications also drew comparisons between her and Lady Macbeth.[145]

Hillary Clinton Marriage, family, law career and first ladyship of Arkansas articles: 61

First Lady of the United States (1993–2001)

When Bill Clinton took office as president in January 1993, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first lady. Her press secretary reiterated she would be using that form of her name.[c] She was the first in this role to have a postgraduate degree and her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House.[146] She was also the first to have an office in the West Wing of the White House in addition to the usual first lady offices in the East Wing.[60][147] She was part of the innermost circle vetting appointments to the new administration. Her choices filled at least eleven top-level positions and dozens more lower-level ones.[148] After Eleanor Roosevelt, Clinton was regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history.[149][150]

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 had been well aware she would play an active role in her husband's presidency.[151] Bill Clinton's campaign promise of "two for the price of one" led opponents to refer derisively to the Clintons as "co-presidents" or sometimes use the Arkansas label "Billary".[101][152][153] The pressures of conflicting ideas about the role of a first lady were enough to send Hillary Clinton into "imaginary discussions" with the also-politically-active Eleanor Roosevelt.[f] From the time she came to Washington, Hillary also found refuge in a prayer group of the Fellowship that featured many wives of conservative Washington figures.[157][158] 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"; 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".[159][160]

Health care and other policy initiatives

Clinton presenting her health care plan, September 1993

In January 1993, President Clinton named Hillary to chair a task force on National Health Care Reform, hoping to replicate the success she had in leading the effort for Arkansas education reform.[161] Unconvinced regarding the merits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), she privately urged that passage of health care reform be given higher priority.[162][163] The recommendation of the task force became known as the Clinton health care plan. This was a comprehensive proposal that would require employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. Its opponents quickly derided the plan as "Hillarycare" and it even faced opposition from some Democrats in Congress.[164] Some protesters against the proposed plan became vitriolic and during a July 1994 bus tour to rally support for the plan, Clinton wore a bulletproof vest at times.[164]

Failing to gather enough support for a floor vote in either the House or the Senate (although Democrats controlled both chambers), the proposal was abandoned in September 1994.[165] Clinton later acknowledged in her memoir that her political inexperience partly contributed to the defeat but cited many other factors. The first lady's approval ratings, which had generally been in the high-50 percent range during her first year, fell to 44 percent in April 1994 and 35 percent by September 1994.[166]

Republicans made the Clinton health care plan a major campaign issue of the 1994 midterm elections.[167] They saw a net gain of 54 seats in the House election and eight 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.[168] The White House subsequently sought to downplay Clinton's role in shaping policy.[169] Opponents of universal health care would continue to use "Hillarycare" as a pejorative label for similar plans by others.[170]

Read Across America Day in Maryland, 1998

Along with senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch, Clinton was a force behind the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997. This federal bill gave state support to children whose parents could not provide them health coverage. She conducted outreach efforts on behalf of enrolling children in the program once it became law.[171] She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood diseases and encouraged older women to get a mammogram for breast cancer screening, with coverage provided by Medicare.[172] She successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health. She worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome.[60]

Enactment of welfare reform was a major goal of Bill Clinton's presidency. When the first two bills on the issue came from a Republican-controlled Congress lacking protections for people coming off welfare, however, Hillary urged him to veto the bills, which he did.[173][174] A third version came up during his 1996 general election campaign that restored some of the protections but cut the scope of benefits in other areas; critics, including her past mentor Edelman, urged her to get the president to veto it again.[173] But she decided to support the bill, which became the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, as the best political compromise available.[173][174] This caused a rift with Edelman that Hillary later called "sad and painful".[174]

Together with Attorney General Janet Reno, Clinton helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice.[60] In 1997, she initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as the first lady.[60][175] In 1999, she was instrumental in the passage of the Foster Care Independence Act, which doubled federal monies for teenagers aging out of foster care.[175] As First Lady of the United States, Clinton was the host for various White House conferences. These included one on Child Care (1997),[176] on Early Childhood Development and Learning (1997),[177] and on Children and Adolescents (2000).[178] She also hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Teenagers (2000),[179] and the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy (1999).[180]

Clinton traveled to 79 countries during this time,[181] breaking the record for most-traveled first lady previously held by Pat Nixon.[182] She did not hold a security clearance or attend National Security Council meetings, but played a role in U.S. diplomacy attaining its objectives.[183] A March 1995 five-nation trip to South Asia, on behest of the U.S. State Department, without her husband, sought to improve relations with India and Pakistan.[184] Clinton was troubled by the plight of women she encountered, but found a warm response from the people of the countries she visited, and gained a better relationship with the American press corps.[185] The trip was a transformative experience for her and presaged her eventual career in diplomacy.[186]

Clinton delivering her "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights" speech in Beijing in September 1995 (20:19)

In a September 1995 speech before the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Clinton argued forcefully against practices that abused women around the world and in the People's Republic of China itself. She declared, "it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights".[187] Delegates from over 180 countries heard her say: "If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."[188] In doing so, she resisted both internal administration and Chinese pressure to soften her remarks.[181][188] The speech became a key moment in the empowerment of women and years later women around the world would recite Clinton's key phrases.[189] During the late 1990s, she was one of the most prominent international figures to speak out against the treatment of Afghan women by the Taliban.[190][191] She helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative sponsored by the U.S. to encourage the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.[192] It and Clinton's own visits encouraged women to make themselves heard in the Northern Ireland peace process.[193] In 1997, Clinton returned to Northern Ireland to deliver the inaugural Joyce McCartan lecture at the University of Ulster in honour of the community campaigner she had meet during her visit in Belfast in 1995.[194][195]

Whitewater and other investigations

Clinton was a subject of several investigations by the United States Office of the Independent Counsel, committees of the U.S. Congress and the press.

The Whitewater controversy was the focus of media attention from its publication in a New York Times report during the 1992 presidential campaign[196] and throughout her time as the first lady. The Clintons had lost their late-1970s investment in the Whitewater Development Corporation; 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[197] and may have been improperly subsidizing Whitewater losses. 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 her husband had appointed.[196] She said she had done minimal work for the bank.[198] Independent counsels Robert Fiske and Kenneth Starr subpoenaed Clinton's legal billing records; she said she did not know where they were.[199][200] After a two-year search, the records were found in the first lady's White House book room and delivered to investigators in early 1996.[200] The delayed appearance of the records sparked intense interest and another investigation concerning how they surfaced and where they had been.[200] Clinton's staff attributed the problem to continual changes in White House storage areas since the move from the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.[201] On January 26, 1996, Clinton became the first spouse of a U.S. president to be subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury.[199] After several Independent Counsels had investigated, a final report was issued in 2000 that stated there was insufficient evidence that either Clinton had engaged in criminal wrongdoing.[202]

Inauguration Day walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to start Bill's second term as president, January 20, 1997

Scrutiny of the May 1993 firings of the White House Travel Office employees, an action that became known as "Travelgate", began with charges that the White House had used audited financial irregularities in the Travel Office operation as an excuse to replace the staff with friends from Arkansas.[203] The 1996 discovery of a two-year-old White House memo led to the investigation being focused on whether Clinton had orchestrated the firings and whether the statements she made to investigators about her role in the firings were true.[204][205] The 2000 final Independent Counsel report concluded she was involved in the firings and that she had made "factually false" statements, but that there was insufficient evidence that she knew the statements were false or knew that her actions would lead to firings, to prosecute her.[206]

In March 1994, newspaper reports revealed that Clinton had earned spectacular profits from cattle futures trading in 1978–79.[207] The press made allegations that Clinton had engaged in a conflict of interest and disguised a bribery. Several individuals analyzed her trading records, but no formal investigation was made and she was never charged with any wrongdoing.[208]

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".[209] Accusations were made that Clinton had requested these files and she had recommended hiring an unqualified individual to head the White House Security Office.[210] The 2000 final Independent Counsel report found no substantial or credible evidence that Clinton had any role or showed any misconduct in the matter.[209]

In early 2001, a controversy arose over gifts that were sent to the White House; there was a question whether the furnishings were White House property or the Clintons' personal property. During the last year of Bill Clinton's time in office, those gifts were shipped to the Clintons' private residence.[211][212]

It Takes a Village release and tour

In 1996, Clinton presented a vision for American children in the book It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. In January 1996, she went on a ten-city book tour and made numerous television appearances to promote the book,[213] although she was frequently hit with questions about her involvement in the Whitewater and Travelgate controversies.[214][215] The book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List that year, including three weeks at number one.[216] By 2000, it had sold 450,000 copies in hardcover and another 200,000 in paperback.[217]

Clinton received the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997 for the book's audio recording.[218] She was the first president's wife to win a Grammy Award.[219]

Response to Lewinsky scandal

In 1998, the Clintons' private concerns became the subject of much speculation when investigations revealed the president had engaged in an extramarital affair with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky.[220] Events surrounding the Lewinsky scandal eventually led to the impeachment of the president by the House of Representatives; he was later acquitted by the Senate. When the allegations against her husband were first made public, Hillary Clinton stated that the allegations were part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy".[221][222] She characterized the Lewinsky charges as the latest in a long, organized, collaborative series of charges by Bill's political enemies[g] rather than any wrongdoing by her husband. She later said she had been misled by her husband's initial claims that no affair had taken place.[224] After the evidence of President Clinton's encounters with Lewinsky became incontrovertible, she issued a public statement reaffirming her commitment to their marriage. Privately, she was reported to be furious at him and was unsure if she wanted to remain in the marriage.[225] The White House residence staff noticed a pronounced level of tension between the couple during this period.[226]

Public reaction varied. Women variously admired her strength and poise in private matters that were made public. They sympathized with her as a victim of her husband's insensitive behavior and criticized her as being an enabler to her husband's indiscretions. They also accused her of cynically staying in a failed marriage as a way of keeping or even fostering her own political influence.[227] In the wake of the revelations, her public approval ratings shot upward to around 70 percent, the highest they had ever been.[227] In her 2003 memoir, she would attribute her decision to stay married to "a love that has persisted for decades" and add: "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."[228]

Issues that surrounded the Lewinsky scandal left Bill Clinton with substantial legal bills. In 2014, Hillary would say she and Bill had left the White House "not only dead broke, but in debt". The statement may have been literally accurate but ignored the potentially enormous earning power of ex-presidents who give paid speeches after leaving office. The couple would also have the ability to secure loans from banks.[229]

Other books and initiatives

Other books published by Clinton when she was the 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 an afterword to the children's book Beatrice's Goat.[230]

She was the founding chair of Save America's Treasures, a nationwide effort matching federal funds with private donations to preserve and restore historic items and sites.[231] This included the flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, Ohio.[60] She also published a weekly syndicated newspaper column titled "Talking It Over" from 1995 to 2000.[232][233] It focused on her experiences and those of women, children and families she met during her travels around the world.[4]

Traditional duties

She was head of the White House Millennium Council[234] and hosted Millennium Evenings,[235] a series of lectures that discussed futures studies, one of which became the first live simultaneous webcast from the White House.[60] Clinton also created the first White House Sculpture Garden, located in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, which displayed large contemporary American works of art loaned by museums.[236]

In the White House, Clinton placed donated handicrafts of contemporary American artisans, such as pottery and glassware, on rotating display in the state rooms.[60] She oversaw the restoration of the Blue Room to be historically authentic to the period of James Monroe,[237] and the Map Room to how it looked during World War II.[238] Working with Arkansas interior decorator Kaki Hockersmith over an eight-year period, she oversaw extensive, privately funded redecoration efforts around the building, often trying to make it look brighter.[239] These included changing of the Treaty Room and a presidential study to have a 19th-century look.[238] Overall the redecoration brought mixed notices, with Victorian furnishings for the Lincoln Sitting Room being criticized the most.[239] Clinton hosted many large-scale events at the White House, including a state dinner for visiting Chinese dignitaries, a New Year's Eve celebration at the turn of the 21st century and a state dinner honoring the bicentennial of the White House in November 2000.[60]

Hillary Clinton First Lady of the United States (1993–2001) articles: 89