“Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu Faculty of Political Sciences, International Relations and European Studies Specialization: International Relations
and European Studies
“Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton”
Social History and Government of the United States of America
Teacher: Charles D. HARRIS
American Fulbright Fellow in Romania
Submitted by Bartok Andrea-Eva (RISE, III, gr.3)
"As we take the next steps in our journey, I know you'll be right there with me, as always, in my heart and by my side. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America" Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton, born in October 26, 1947, Democratic member of the United States Senate from New York (2001- ), wife of United States president Bill Clinton (1993-2001), candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2008 presidential race, and nominee for secretary of state in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. During her husband’s presidency, she became a powerful symbol of the changing role and status of women in American society. Her election to the U.S. Senate while being first lady was unprecedented in U.S. history. In announcing her candidacy for the presidency, Clinton was widely seen as the first female candidate with a strong prospect of winning her party’s nomination. However, she fell short of winning enough delegates to secure the nomination, losing to U.S. senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Nearly a month after winning the presidential race, Obama named Clinton as his choice to head the Department of State.
Early Years The first president's wife born after World War II, Hillary was the eldest child of Hugh and Dorothy Rodham. She grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, where her father's textile 2
business provided the family with a comfortable income; her parents' emphasis on hard work and academic excellence set high standards. A student leader in public schools, she was active in youth programs at the First United Methodist Church. Although she later became associated with liberal causes, during this time she adhered to the Republican Party of her parents. She campaigned for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 and chaired the local chapter of the Young Republicans. A year later, after she enrolled at Wellesley College, her political views began to change. Influenced by the assassinations of Malcolm X, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., she joined the Democratic Party and volunteered in the presidential campaign of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy. Hillary Rodham was the first student ever asked to give the commencement address at Wellesley College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1969. At Yale Law School, she met her future husband, Bill Clinton, and her lifelong mentor, Marian Wright Edelman; Edelman founded the Children’s Defence Fund, an organization that lobbies for children’s welfare. Through her work with Edelman, she developed a strong interest in family law and issues affecting children. Rodham worked there as a staff attorney for a year after graduating from law school in 1973 and later she chaired the organization’s board. In 1974, after working for the special U.S. House panel investigating a possible impeachment of President Richard Nixon, she moved to Arkansas, where she began teaching law at the University of Arkansas. She and Bill Clinton were married a year later. A daughter, Chelsea, was born in 1980. In 1977, Clinton founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and joined the Rose Law Firm, where she practiced until 1992, specializing in patent infringement and intellectual property. She was named twice one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. 3
First Lady In 1993, Bill Clinton took office as the 42nd president of the United States, and Hillary Clinton became first lady. As the first presidential spouse with her own successful professional career, Clinton drew criticism from those who favoured a more traditional role for the first lady. After taking office, President Clinton chose her to head a special commission on health-care reform, the most significant public policy initiative of his first year in office. The special commission developed a comprehensive health-care proposal, which was presented to the Congress of the United States in September 1993. Although Clinton was praised for her intricate knowledge of the issue, critics attacked the cost of the plan and the burden it placed on small employers. Throughout 1994, other groups drafted proposals, but Congress could not reach agreement on the health-care issue. The failure of health-care reform resulted in a major defeat for the Clintons and caused the first lady to step back from a prominent role in public policy decisions. In 1993, both Clintons came under scrutiny during an investigation that questioned the couple’s 1978 investment in a failed real estate venture called the Whitewater Development Corporation and their connection to a bankrupt savings and loan association. In 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton was called to testify before a grand jury investigating the Whitewater Affair, as these financial dealings came to be known. It was the first time a first lady was asked to appear before a grand jury. Clinton travelled extensively as first lady and promoted new responsibilities and opportunities for women, particularly in the world’s developing countries. In 1995, she attended the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. In addition to helping her husband in his 1996 presidential election campaign, Clinton also worked actively for children’s 4
welfare issues. In 1996, she published a book, It Takes a Village, that focuses on the responsibilities that society has toward children.
United States Senator In 2000, Clinton made her own bid for political office when she announced her candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate from New York. In January 2000, she moved from the White House to a new home in Chappaqua, New York, to establish residency in the state. In the 2000 election, Clinton defeated Republican Rick Lazio. She took office in January 2001. In the Senate, Clinton focused her attention on issues such as improving education, protecting the environment, and strengthening homeland security. She also became known for her detailed knowledge of Senate procedures. During her first two years in office, she worked to keep a low profile and avoid the extensive publicity she received as first lady. In 2003, however, Clinton reclaimed the public spotlight when she published her memoirs, Living History. The bestselling book detailed her years as first lady, including her reaction to her husband’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton came under criticism from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party for her early support of the U.S.-Iraq War. She voted for the resolution that authorized President George W. Bush to use military force against Iraq. During and after the 2004 presidential elections, a number of leading Democratic figures, who had also voted for the resolution, declared that their vote had been a mistake. Clinton, however, never publicly renounced her vote. In 2006, she began to criticize the Bush administration’s handling of the war, particularly the role played by Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. During the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in 2006, she faced an antiwar opponent but won her party’s nomination by an overwhelming margin. Clinton was easily re-elected to a second Senate term in the November 2006 elections. 5
Presidential Candidate In January 2007 Clinton ended months of speculation and announced her bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. She had set her sights on becoming the first female president of the United States, campaigning in an often-bitter battle against Mr Obama to win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008. But at the end of her thwarted campaign she called for party unity, appeared alongside her one-time rival and indicated she would be ready to run for vice president if asked. She was to be denied that opportunity as well when Senator Joe Biden, himself well versed in foreign policy, was selected. During her presidential campaign, Mrs Clinton attempted to define herself as the candidate of experience, who would be ready to lead from the start. But critics pointed out that she had served only as a senator and has held no executive role. They also questioned her electability - she is a divisive figure - and ability to engage with voters. A campaigner for women's rights, universal healthcare and job creation, Mrs Clinton has a high profile both at home and internationally. As a senator for New York, partway through her second term, she has tried to position herself in the centre of the Democratic Party. She was widely regarded as the frontrunner because of her successful fundraising, a vast network of loyalists within the party, and the continuing popularity of her husband. However, she faced a crowded field, doubts about her chances of winning election, and a lukewarm reception from the antiwar, activist base of the party. Clinton lost the nomination season’s first caucus in Iowa to Barack Obama, but she recovered in the next contest, winning the New Hampshire primary. The battle for the nomination soon developed into a contest between her and Obama, with Clinton claiming victory in a number of major states, such as California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas. Those victories, however, never enabled her to overtake the lead in delegates that Obama amassed after a string of 6
11 straight wins. By June 2008, Obama had secured enough delegates to claim the party’s nomination at the August convention. Following his election victory, Obama named Clinton as his choice for secretary of state. She was expected to easily secure Senate approval.
Personal storms One of the things to note about Mrs Clinton is that she always uses the family name of Rodham as well as her married name. She is perhaps making a statement about her independence, rather like President George Bush junior who added the "W" from the family name of Walker to distinguish himself from his father. However, the fact that she still carries the Clinton name as well shows that she values its connections. Mrs Clinton is perhaps also fond of the name Rodham because by all accounts she is very much her father's daughter. Hillary Rodham Clinton developed the iron exterior, which has served her so well in the political and personal storms through which she and her husband have travelled. Nevertheless, if she is independent, she is also tied to Bill Clinton. Twice she has shown that she will not leave her husband, whatever he has done. In 1992, when Gennifer Flowers revealed that she had had an affair with him (which he admitted to only years later and then claiming it was confined to one encounter), she uttered the famous words on CBS's 60 Minutes programme: "I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him." She had to apologise, of course, to Tammy Wynette who wrote and sang the song but was not the character in it, but Hillary had made her point. The second time was in January 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky story broke. Mrs Clinton declared in an interview with NBC's Today show that it was all politically inspired by "this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for 7
president". She had a difficult moment later that year when her husband admitted to certain contacts with Monica Lewinsky, and nobody will forget the sight of the two of them walking across the White House lawn to the helicopter waiting to take them on holiday. Their daughter Chelsea walked between them holding their hands. Hillary was angry but she was still there.
Strengths and weaknesses As the 2008 presidential campaign began, Mrs Clinton began raising sums of campaign cash that dwarfed those of previous elections - though Mr Obama overtook her. She proved a match for Mr Obama in many of the televised debates. Asked if she was playing the gender card at one held in Las Vegas, she responded: "People are not attacking me because I'm a woman; they're attacking me because I'm ahead." Bill Clinton said his wife was the best candidate for the job of president. Nonetheless, critics - some within her own party - continued to put forward arguments against her running in the general election race. She was repeatedly said to be a divisive figure for whom some Americans would never vote. But now that she has been named as Mr Obama's choice for Secretary of State, it could to heal the rift inside the Democratic party caused by a bruising primary campaign, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington. By giving Mrs Clinton a top cabinet job, Mr Obama has shown that he is not afraid to reach out to rivals and surround himself with strong personalities. Questions hadve been raised about the curious position, which Bill Clinton will occupy, with some suggesting that his business connections and the donors to his charitable foundation could prove embarrassing for his wife in her new role. However, Mr Clinton has agreed to submit his wide-ranging charity roles to scrutiny to ensure there is no conflict of interest. Although America's voters decided not to fulfil Hillary Rodham Clinton's wish to become president, she will now become a key part of the country's leadership. 8
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama's former bitter rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, is his secretary of state. President Obama and Mrs. Clinton fought perhaps the most polarizing nomination battle in decades, but in recruiting her for his cabinet, Mr. Obama chose to turn a rival into a partner. Mrs. Clinton brings to the job a distinctive background and unique skills. As first lady, she traveled the world for eight years, visiting more than 80 countries, not only meeting with foreign leaders but also visiting villages, clinics and other remote areas that rarely appear on a president's itinerary. Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher called Mrs. Clinton "a naturally gifted diplomat." She also served as a senator from New York, elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. Mrs. Clinton is seen as fiercely loyal to Israel, which can be both a plus and a minus, Middle East experts say. While her pro-Israel record as a senator from New York might cause her to be viewed with suspicion in the Arab world, it could give her credibility to ask Israel to make tough choices for peace. Mrs. Clinton staked a position during the primaries to the right of Mr. Obama on Iran. In 2007, she voted in favour of a measure asking President Bush to declare Iran's 125,000member Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. On her first trip as secretary, Mrs. Clinton travelled in February 2009 to Seoul, where she warned that a succession battle in North Korea could complicate nuclear negotiations with that country's government. With it, she broke an informal taboo: Diplomats do not talk publicly about what comes after Kim Jong-Il, the convalescing dictator who turned his isolated country into a nuclear rogue state. The question is whether Mrs. Clinton made a beginner's error that could upset other players in the negotiations, like China. On the other hand, whether she showed refreshing candour -- the
kind of approach that could shake loose what has been a diplomatic quagmire for the last eight years.
Sources: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/ http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/c/hillary_rodham_clinton/ index.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3334839.stm "Clinton, Hillary Rodham." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Student and Home Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009. "Hillary Rodham Clinton." Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.