White House Brief: Things to know about Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON (AP) — Here’s a look at key things to know about Hillary Rodham Clinton as she steps into the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign with an expected announcement Sunday:
She’s one of the most recognized women in the world and starts the race in a dominant position in the Democratic primaries. As first lady to President Bill Clinton during the 1990s, she was a driving figure in a failed health care overhaul and lived through the tumult of multiple ethics investigations and the trauma of her husband’s impeachment. She rebounded, winning a Senate seat representing New York in 2000, then embarked on a 2008 Democratic presidential bid that faltered against Barack Obama. After Obama won the White House, Clinton joined his administration, serving for four years as his secretary of state. If successful, she’d be the first woman to achieve a major-party nomination in the U.S. and the presidency.
Lawyer, senator, diplomat. In Arkansas, she worked as an attorney at one of the state’s top law firms while Bill Clinton served as governor. She quickly asserted herself as her husband’s adviser after he won the White House in 1992. Both Clintons were a lightning rod for the right during the White Hours years; in the Senate, she struck a bipartisan tone at times — an approach expected to be seen in her 2016 campaign. Her Senate vote for the 2002 Iraq invasion became a point of contention in 2008 with nomination rival Obama, who spoke out against the “dumb war” at the time. At the State Department, she was a hawkish member of Obama’s national security team who helped lay the foundation for multi-nation nuclear talks with Iran.
The daughter of a small-business owner and homemaker, Clinton grew up in suburban Chicago. As a senior at Wellesley College, she delivered a 1969 commencement speech that earned national attention, and enrolled at Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. After working as a child advocate, Clinton followed her Rhodes Scholar future husband back to Arkansas, where he launched his political career. The couple’s 35-year-old daughter, Chelsea Clinton, gave birth to her first child, Charlotte, in September.
CALLING CARD MOMENT
Two speeches — a 1995 address in Beijing and her final campaign event in 2008 — serve as twin pillars as she heads into a second campaign. As first lady, Clinton declared in a speech to the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” The speech challenged human rights abuses of women and helped set the tone for Clinton’s work years later in the State Department. Her 2008 speech, delivered after Obama locked up the nomination, told supporters they had made “18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling, denoting the number of primary votes she won. It left the impression of unfinished business and the potential for a woman eventually to win the White House. Her critics remember her for blaming her husband’s scandals on a “vast right wing conspiracy.”
Clinton penned “Hard Choices,” a memoir of her time as secretary of state and promoted the book around the country in 2014. The book generated mediocre sales and Clinton stumbled at times during the book tour, saying in one interview that she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House. While they faced large legal bills from the Whitewater investigation, the couple made millions after Bill Clinton’s presidency and the comments were considered tone-deaf. Clinton was already a publishing powerhouse at that point — her 2003 memoir, “Living History,” sold more than 1 million copies. During her husband’s presidency, she released “It Takes a Village” in 1996, a book that discussed her work in child advocacy and steps to help children become productive adults. Other books: “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets,” in 1998, and “An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History,” in 2000.
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