US lawyer, Democrat senator 2001–09, first lady 1993–2001, and US secretary of state 2009–13. She was elected senator for New York in November 2000 – the first time a first lady had held public office – and was re-elected in 2006. In 2007–08 she contested for the Democrat party's nomination for the 2008 presidential election and was narrowly defeated by Barack Obama. In January 2009, President Obama appointed her as secretary of state, in charge of foreign affairs, and she served throughout Obama's first term. She oversaw the US response to the Arab Spring popular movement against authoritarian regimes in 2011, including US military intervention against Libya. Recognizing that the USA faced military spending constraints, she sought to further US interests through ‘smart power’, combining military strength with diplomatic influence and reliance on allies.
As first lady (1993–2001) she was at times independent and outspoken, but also supportive of Bill Clinton in the face of challenges such as the ‘Monicagate’ scandal concerning the president's improper relationship with an intern. As senator, she supported the US wars against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2003 and to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003, but in 2007 voted against the US war surge in Iraq.
While first lady, she was appointed in 1993 by President Clinton to head his task force on the reform of the national health-care system, but her proposal of health insurance for all US citizens was blocked by Congress in 1994.
Hillary Rodham was born in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Initially, when at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, she was a Republican, but in the late 1960s converted to the Democratic Party. She met Bill Clinton at Yale law school, from where she graduated in 1973. She was one of the team of lawyers appointed to work on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon in 1974. She married Bill Clinton in 1975 and they moved to Arkansas in 1976, where he served as governor 1979–81 and 1983–92 while she became a successful lawyer, joining the Rose law firm and becoming a partner in 1980. As head of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee from 1983, she succeeded in getting the state to pass a law in 1985 allowing the dismissal of teachers for incompetence.
Her financial dealings were investigated in connection with the Whitewater affair, concerning alleged irregularities in property deals made by the Clintons when in Arkansas (in 2000, the prosecutor concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute).
A long time advocate of children's rights, she published the book It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996), on the role of the community in raising children. She published her autobiography, Living History, in 2003.
Clinton, Hillary Diane Rodham
Clinton, Hillary: Address to the American Medical Association
Clinton, Hillary Rodham
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