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Useful Notes: Hillary Rodham Clinton

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it... for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
Hillary Clinton

The wife of former President Bill Clinton and a lawyer and politician in her own right, Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born 1947) is the most politically active First Lady in American history.

A graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School, Clinton spent years working as a lawyer, specializing in child services and welfare. She met Bill Clinton when both were students at Yale Law School and married him in 1975. By the time her husband ran for Governor of Arkansas, she was already well known as a lawyer and politician in her own right and had come to national attention as the first student ever to give the commencement address at well-respected Wellesley College, her alma mater, and as the first-ever female partner at Arkansas' prestigious Rose Law Firm.

She was a highly controversial First Lady, making health care reform her pet project and attracting attention for her hands-on approach. The moniker "Billary" and the "two-for-one" jokes may have been funny, but they also held more than a grain of truth, and the contrast was even more marked after the distinctly hands-off, stay-at-home policies of then-recent First Ladies such as Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan.

Her tenure as First Lady, however, was only the beginning for Clinton. She became the first First Lady to hold political office in her own right when she took her oath as Senator (D-NY) in early 2001, just months before the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center. Obviously, as New York's junior Senator, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 she was instrumental in shaping America's response to the attacks. Later on during her time in the Senate she campaigned further for health care as well as speaking up for rural areas such as upstate New York and the areas around Albany and Syracuse.

She won again by a significant margin in 2006, but left the Senate to engage in the closest primary election in American history, the 2008 Presidential Democratic primary. Up against Barack Obama, she won over 18 million votes around the country and was the first serious female candidate for the Presidency in history. She fought the campaign out right up to the Democratic National Convention, but spoke in favor of her former rival as its keynote speaker on its second night. Since Defeat Means Friendship, she joined Obama's cabinet as Secretary of State, becoming the first First Lady to serve on the Cabinet, and has used her many foreign contacts from her days as First Lady to assist in restoring America's image around the globe.

She chose not to remain in the post for Obama's second term, passing that baton to now-former Senator John Kerry, and currently refuses to comment when asked about running for political office again, but time will tell. (All she will say is that she plans to spend about a year catching up on her sleep, and understandably so. She also hinted that she might write another book, which was later confirmed; a second memoir covering her time as Secretary of State will be released in June of 2014.)

Although several different biographies of her have been written, she has also written her own autobiography, Living History.

Clinton's policies, image, and general existence are highly controversial and as with all things political, follow the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.
Jerry BrownPoliticiansAl Franken

alternative title(s): Hillary Rodham Clinton
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