White House Brief: Things to know about Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON (AP) — A look at key things to know about Hillary Rodham Clinton, who entered the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign on Sunday:
As first lady to President Bill Clinton during the 1990s, she was a driving figure in a failed health care overhaul and lived through multiple ethics investigations and her husband’s impeachment. She won a Senate seat representing New York in 2000 and ran for president in 2008, losing the nomination to Barack Obama. She was his secretary of state for four years. No woman has been a major party’s presidential nominee or been elected president.
Lawyer, senator, diplomat. In Arkansas, she was a lawyer at a top firm while Bill Clinton was governor. She advised her husband after he won the White House in 1992. In the Senate, she struck a bipartisan tone at times. Her Senate vote for the 2002 Iraq invasion became a point of contention in the 2008 primary campaign; Obama had spoken out against the “dumb war.” At the State Department, she was a hawkish member of Obama’s national security team. She helped set the foundation for 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. At Yale Law School, she met Bill Clinton. After working as a child advocate, Clinton followed her 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
A 1995 address in Beijing and her final campaign event in 2008 are signature moments. As first lady, Clinton declared in a speech at a U.N. 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.”
EARLY CAMPAIGN ACTION
Clinton has signaled that she intends to make a major push in the Iowa caucuses, won by Obama in 2008. Her team has hired a former top aide to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to lead her Iowa campaign. Her ties to New Hampshire are much stronger. State Democrats remember Bill Clinton’s surprising second-place finish in the 1992 primary that helped him overcome charges of draft dodging and womanizing. Hillary Clinton surprised Obama by winning the 2008 New Hampshire primary.
Clinton wrote “Hard Choices,” about 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; the comments were considered tone-deaf. Clinton already was a publishing powerhouse at that point. Her 2003 book, “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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