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Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Clinton, Hillary Rodham rŏd´əm [key], 1947–, U.S. senator and secretary of state, wife of President Bill Clinton , b. Chicago, grad. Wellesley College (B.A. 1969), Yale Law School (LL.B., 1973). After law school she served on the House panel that investigated the Watergate affair . She was in private practice from 1977 until 1992, becoming an expert on children's rights. After her husband's election as president, she initially played a highly visible role in his administration, co-chairing the task force that proposed changes in the U.S. health-care system. Less publicly involved in policy issues after that program failed to gain support, she won sympathy for her support of her husband during the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent impeachment proceedings. She became the first first lady to be subpoenaed by a grand jury when she testified about the Whitewater affair in 1996. In 2000, Clinton won election as a Democrat to the U.S. senate from New York, becoming the first wife of a president to win election to public office; she was reelected in 2006. A candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, she lost to Barack Obama , but she subsequently served (2009–13) as secretary of state after he was elected president. Her use of a private email server while at the State Dept. was widely criticized, including by the FBI, and it became an issue when she ran for president in 2016. After defeating Senator Bernie Sanders to become the first woman nominated for U.S. president by a major political party, she chose Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. The Clinton-Kaine ticket subsequently lost the election (although it won the popular vote) to Donald Trump and Mike Pence in one of the bitterest, most personal, and socially divisive contests in recent U.S. history. Clinton is the author of It Takes a Village (1996); two memoirs, Living History (2003) and Hard Choices (2014); and What Happened (2017), an account of the 2016 race from her perspective.

See biographies by D. Radcliffe (1994), D. Brock (1996), G. Sheehy (1999), G. Troy (2006), C. Bernstein (2007), and J. Gerth and D. Van Natta, Jr. (2007); W. H. Chafe, Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal (2012); J. Allen and A. Parnes, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton (2014).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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