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Profile of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
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United States Senate:

On December 1, 2008, former two-term Sen. Hillary Clinton was nominated to be President Obama's Secretary of State. Her nomination was approved by a Senate vote of 94-2, and she was sworn in on January 22, 2009.

On March 16, 2011, Clinton announced that she would not serve as Secretary of State, Defense Secretary or vice President for President Obama after 2012. She also confirmed that she will not run for the presidency in 2012.

Clinton was an '08 candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, finishing second to Obama by a very narrow margin.

Recently Notable:

In June 2010, Secretary of State Clinton was seriously mentioned in the Washington Post as under consideration to be Obama's vice president during his second term, if reelected. (See Three Obama Staffing Rumors I Hope Are True.)

In January 2007, Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. After a hard-fought primary, Sen. Clinton narrowly lost the nomination to Barack Obama in June 2008.

For in-depth info on the race and her campaign, see Hillary Clinton in 2008 Hub and News Center. Lively analysis of the Clinton-Obama race can be read at Daunting Decision 2008: Obama or Clinton?

The Hillary Clinton Persona:

Sen. Clinton is a strong, outspoken leader with sharp intelligence, political sensibilities, workhorse habits, and persistence in pursuing her agenda.

Clinton touts herself as an aggressive fighter, and openly savors the tough thrust and parry of political campaigning. In private, she's reputed to be much warmer and friendlier than her public persona would suggest. She commands the respect and loyalty of many who have known her for decades.

She's widely known as a practical "policy wonk" who enjoys engagement in the fine details of proposals and plans, rather than as a big-picture visionary.

Major Areas of Interest:

Sen. Clinton is a passionate advocate of health care reform and universal health care, education, and measures to aid middle-class Americans.

Clinton voted to 2002 to support the Iraq War. In 2007, she admitted to regretting that vote, although she has never apologized for her Iraq War vote, as did John Edwards during the 2008 campaign.

As senator, she's given new priority to issues affecting the military and national security. Reacting to 2004 voting discrepancies, she has deep interest in voters' right and election reform.

Senate Committees in the 110th Congress:

  • Committee on Armed Services
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions
  • Committee on Environment & Public Works
  • Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe
  • Special Committee on Aging

Prior Experience:

After law school, Senator Clinton joined the impeachment staff of the House Judiciary Committee in its investigation of President Nixon. She also advised the Children's Defense Fund. After marriage to Bill Clinton, she worked at the Rose Law firm in Little Rock. She was twice named by Time magazine as a top 100 lawyer nationally. She was also First Lady of Arkansas during her husband's 12 years as Governor.

Memorable Quotes:

Senator Clinton has uttered many regrettable quotes for which she later offered profuse apologies. She is a prolific and admired speech-giver, and has articulated thousands of noble quotes, as well. Here are two classics:

"Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process."

"Research shows the presence of women raises the standards of ethical behavior and lowers corruption."

Personal Data:

  • Birth - October 26, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Education - B.A. from Wellesley College, J.D. from Yale University Law School, where she was on the Board of Editors for the Yale Law Review
  • Family - Married on October 11, 1975 to William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd U.S. President; one adult child, Chelsea, to whom they are both devoted.
  • Faith - Christian, Methodist

Interesting Background Notes:

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is a strong, charismatic leader, legendary for her sharp intelligence, political sensibilities and extreme diligence and persistence in pursuing her goals.

She was the first child of a U.S. Marine drill instructor turned factory worker, and his wife, who was born to neglectful teenage parents. While little has been written of her early childhood, her father has been described as strongly confrontational.

Sen. Clinton is lifelong, devout Methodist, and was especially active in church groups as a teenager. She was a Goldwater supporter, dubbed Goldwater Girls, while in high school, and was President of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College.

Like many baby boomers, her politics became more liberal as the Vietnam War raged. By the time she was selected valedictorian of her Wellesley class, she was a Eugene McCarthy Democrat.

She chose Yale over Harvard Law School after a cocktail party run-in with an chauvinistic Harvard professor, and soon after, met Bill Clinton in a Yale library.

In 1975, Hillary Rodham moved to Arkanas and married Bill Clinton, wearing an off-the-rack cotton wedding dress she bought the day before their wedding. She started her career anew in Little Rock with the Rose Law Firm.

Theirs has been a rocky, tempestuous marriage, in which serious rifts were played out on the public stage. Many speculate that Bill and Hillary would have divorced, had there not been an adored child.

Others close to the Clintons insist, however, that Bill and Hillary are deeply bonded, as shown by the fact that their marriage has endured for over 30 years. (See more at Profile of Bill Clinton, Spouse of 2008 Candidate.)

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