Who Is Hillary Rodham Clinton:
As one of the most powerful female political figures of the 21st Century, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the woman to watch in Washington. As the former first lady who made her first mark in national politics when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president from 1993 to 2001, Rodham Clinton served as a New York senator from 2001 to 2009 and then was appointed 67th U. S. Secretary of State by President Barack Obama.
"President Obama set the tone with his inaugural address. And the work of the Obama-Biden administration is committed to advancing America's national security, furthering America's interests, and respecting and exemplifying America's values around the world," said Rodham Clinton in her welcoming remarks as secretary of state.
As the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, she narrowly lost to Obama. But many believe this won't be Clinton's last bid for the presidency.
After making her mark as a very political and hands on first lady in the White House, Rodham Clinton was the first former first lady to run for and be elected to public office. As the first female U.S. senator from New York in 2000, she launched a very high-profile political career. She was reelected to the Senate in 2006.
While in the Senate, she served on the Armed Services Committee; the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the Environment and Public Works Committee; the Budget Committee; and the Select Committee on Aging. In addition, she was a commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. As a New York senator during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she worked to secure funding to rebuild the World Trade Center area, as well as address the health concerns of first responders.
In 2006, she was reelected to the Senate, and in 2007 she began her presidential campaign. In 2008 in the Democratic presidential nomination race, she went head to head with Obama, who beat Rodham Clinton by a slim margin of votes.
Obama later appointed her U.S. secretary of state. Rodham Clinton became the first former first lady to become part of a presidential cabinet. Touted as one of the most traveled secretaries of state in U.S. history, Rodham Clinton has handled responses to the 2011 Middle East protests, and has supported military intervention in Libya.
Born Hillary Diane Rodham on October 26, 1947, she launched her life-long series of "firsts" as the first student commencement speaker at her Wellesley College graduation. In 1973, she earned her juris doctorate from Yale Law School. Rodham Clinton worked as congressional legal counsel before meeting Bill Clinton. In 1975, she and Bill tied the knot.
The political pair has one daughter, Chelsea. Among this working mother's early accolades are co-founding the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and first female chair of the Legal Services Corp. Again, she broke the glass ceiling when she became the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979. Dubbed one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, Rodham Clinton was on her way to making her mark in the political world.
The First Lady
After her tenure as Arkansas' first lady, she became America's first lady. During the campaign, she and Bill Clinton sold themselves as "two for the price of one," and she famously said she pursued a career instead of staying home and baking cookies. Known for being a staunch advocate for healthcare reform, she launched her signature initiative, the Clinton Healthcare Plan. Other initiatives launched by Rodham Clinton include the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act.
In traveling to more than 80 countries, she was touted as being an advocate for human rights, democracy and civil society. On women's rights, she made a famous speech in Beijing in 1995. She said: "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights."
However, negative publicity clouded her early political life. The Whitewater controversy, which centered around a failed real estate venture of the Clintons, forced her to testified to a grand jury in 1996. She was never charged with any crime. Another controversy that overshadowed her budding political career was the 1998 Monica Lewinsky scandal, in which her husband was accused of having an affair with a White House intern. In response, she appeared on 60 Minutes to defend him, while claiming not to be "some little woman standing by my man."