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Hillary Clinton Calls Herself ‘Transition Person’ in U.S. History

May 6, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Mixing policy talk with personal reflections, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton told a live TV audience Thursday that she chafes at the confines of White House life but loves to see what’s getting done.

Mrs. Clinton, in an hour-long interview on CNN’s ″Larry King Live,″ said she found it ″profoundly sad″ that rumors circulated about her relationship with White House deputy counsel Vince Foster after his suicide last summer.

″It’s so sad that when something tragic happens that people ... try to create conspiracies and act paranoid and all that,″ she said. ″But some of it is not explainable except for people who just want to cause trouble.″

Mrs. Clinton seemed at ease as she shifted back and forth between talk about health care and gun control and lighter topics like her ever-changing hair styles.

Joking about her hair, she told King: ″It’s been something I’ve struggled with all my life. I’m hoping somebody’s going to form a group Hair Anonymous that I can join.″

Her answer was more terse when asked about a threatened lawsuit by an Arkansas woman who claims that President Clinton made advances toward her when he was governor.

″I have nothing to add to what’s already been said by the White House,″ she said without elaborating. The White House has said the woman’s allegations are untrue.

Mrs. Clinton appeared on King’s show on a day when Whitewater special prosecutor Robert Fiske served a sweeping new subpoena on the White House seeking the documents in Foster’s office at the time of his death.

″I’m sure he’s conducting a very thorough investigation and we will, of course, fully cooperate,″ she said.

Asked to assess the intense criticism that she attracts from some circles, Mrs. Clinton speculated one cause is ″fear and insecurity″ at the changes the president is pushing, and part of it is resistance to her path-breaking role as a new kind of first lady.

″I’m kind of a transition person in the history of our country,″ she said, noting her role as a working woman and mother.

She said she tries to follow her husband’s example to ″take criticism seriously but not personally and to try to learn something from it.″

Chatting with King before taking questions from callers around the country, Mrs. Clinton said the best part of life in the White House was ″all the progress that’s been made in the last 15 months.″

The hardest part, she said, is that ″it’s hard being so confined, feeling that you can’t just walk out the door and go to the store.″

Reminiscing about her days in Arkansas, she said wistfully, ″I could get in my car, go to the store, take my daughter out shopping, have lunch with her, go to church with my husband, go to the movies.″

Mrs. Clinton smoothly fielded questions about health-care reform and declared confidence that legislation will be approved. She got a vote of confidence from one caller - Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore.

Mrs. Gore called herself ″Hillary’s biggest fan,″ praised her leadership on health care and expressed admiration at her ability to push ahead despite criticism.

″She keeps herself focused on the vision she has for making life better,″ Mrs. Gore said.

Mrs. Clinton was direct in responding to a 21-year-old college student who said he was uninsured by choice and questioned the costs to his generation of ″your social health-care plan.″

She told the young man he might feel ″immortal″ at his age but that it was only fair that all groups help pay for insuring all Americans, since anyone could get sick and become a burden on the health-care system.

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