DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE - HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the junior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. She began her career as a lawyer in the 1970s and was named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979. She was twice named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, in 1988 and in 1991. Rodham Clinton served as the First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, and was active in a number of organizations concerned with the welfare of children. As First Lady of the United States, she successfully established the Children's Health Insurance Program, and was regarded as the most openly empowered presidential wife in American history, save for Eleanor Roosevelt. Rodham Clinton was elected to the United States Senate in 2000, becoming the first First Lady elected to public office and the first woman elected Senator from New York. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006, and has consistently been the front-runner in polls for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 United States presidential election.
Rodham Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised, along with two younger brothers, in a Methodist family. Her father, Hugh Ellsworth Rodham, was a son of Welsh and English immigrants and operated a small but successful business in the textile industry. Her mother, Dorothy Emma Howell Rodham, was a homemaker. As a child, Rodham Clinton was involved in many church and school activities, participating in sports, Brownies, and the Girl Scouts. She attended Maine East High School, where she participated in student council, the debating team, and the National Honor Society, and was a National Merit Finalist her senior year. Raised in a politically conservative family, she volunteered for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the United States presidential election of 1964. Her parents encouraged her to pursue the career of her choice.
After graduating from high school in 1965, Rodham Clinton enrolled in Wellesley College where she majored in political science. She became active in politics and served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans organization during her freshman year. Due to her evolving views regarding the American Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, she subsequently stepped down from that position. In her junior year, Rodham Clinton was affected by the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and became a supporter of the anti-war presidential nomination campaign of Democrat Eugene McCarthy. In that same year she was elected president of the Wellesley College Government, and graduated with departmental honors in political science in 1969.
Rodham Clinton served on the Board of Editors of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action her first year at Yale Law School. During her second year, she volunteered at the Yale Child Study Center, learning about new research on early childhood brain development. She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and worked at the city legal services to provide free advice for the poor. In the summer of 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at the Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That summer, she traveled to Washington to work on Senator Walter Mondale's subcommittee on migrant workers, researching problems in housing, sanitation, health and education. The following summer, Rodham Clinton campaigned for 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern and interned on child custody cases at the Oakland law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein.
Rodham Clinton received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973 and began a year of post-graduate study on children and medicine at the Yale Child Study Center. Her first scholarly paper, "Children Under the Law", was published in the Harvard Educational Review in late 1973 and became frequently cited in the field. During her post-graduate study, Rodham Clinton served as staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts and as a consultant to the Carnegie Council on Children. During 1974 she was a member of the impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C., advising the House Committee on the Judiciary during the Watergate scandal.
Rodham Clinton "chose to follow my heart instead of my head" and, rather than stay in Washington where career prospects were best, followed boyfriend Bill Clinton to Arkansas. In August 1974, she became one of two female faculty members at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville School of Law, where Bill Clinton also taught, and on October 11, 1975, she married Bill Clinton. In November 1976, Bill Clinton was elected Attorney General of Arkansas, which required the couple to move to the state capital of Little Rock. Rodham joined the venerable Rose Law Firm in late 1976, specializing in intellectual property while working pro bono in child advocacy. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the board of the Legal Services Corporation.
In January 1979, following the November 1978 election of Bill Clinton as Governor of Arkansas, Rodham Clinton became First Lady of Arkansas. In 1979, she became the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm, and on February 27, 1980, she gave birth to a daughter, Chelsea. As First Lady of Arkansas, Rodham Clinton chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Committee and the Rural Health Advisory Committee. In 1983, she was named Arkansas Woman of the Year, and in 1984, Arkansas Mother of the Year. Rodham Clinton co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital Legal Services and the Children's Defense Fund. In addition to her positions with non-profit organizations, she also held positions on the corporate board of directors of TCBY, Wal-Mart Stores and Lafarge.
When Bill Clinton took office as president in January 1993, Rodham Clinton became the First Lady of the United States, and was appointed to head and be the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. Rodham Clinton hosted numerous White House Conferences, including ones on Child Care, Early Childhood Development and Learning, Children and Adolescents, Teenagers, and Philanthropy. She promoted nationwide immunization against childhood illnesses and encouraged older women to seek mammograms to detect breast cancer, with coverage provided by Medicare. She successfully sought to increase research funding for prostate cancer and childhood asthma at the National Institutes of Health, and worked to investigate reports of an illness that affected veterans of the Gulf War, which became known as the Gulf War syndrome. In 1997, she initiated and shepherded the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which she regarded as her greatest accomplishment as First Lady.
In a September 1995 speech before the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Rodham Clinton argued very forcefully against practices that abused women around the world and in China itself. Together with Attorney General Janet Reno, Rodham Clinton helped create the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice. She was one of the most prominent international figures at the time to speak out against the treatment of Afghan women by the Islamist fundamentalist Taliban that had seized control of Afghanistan. She helped create Vital Voices, an international initiative sponsored by the United States to promote the participation of women in the political processes of their countries.
In 1998, several prominent Democratic figures urged Rodham Clinton to run for the open seat of Senator of New York in the election of 2000, making her the first First Lady of the United States to be a candidate for elected office. Rodham Clinton began her campaign by visiting every county in the state, in a "listening tour" of small-group settings. During the campaign, she devoted considerable time in traditionally Republican Upstate New York regions, vowing to improve the economic situation in those areas, and promising to deliver 200,000 jobs to the state over her term. Rodham Clinton won the election on November 7, 2000, with 55 percent of the vote, and was sworn in as a United States Senator on January 3, 2001. When Rodham Clinton entered the United States Senate, she maintained a low public profile as she built relationships with senators from both parties, to avoid the polarizing celebrity she experienced as First Lady. It was reported that when Elizabeth Dole joined the Senate in 2003 under somewhat similar circumstances, she modeled her initial approach after Rodham Clinton's, as did the nationally visible Barack Obama in 2005.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Rodham Clinton sought to obtain funding for the recovery efforts and security improvements in her state. Working with New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, she helped secure $21.4 billion in funding for the World Trade Center site's redevelopment, and she voted for the USA Patriot Act in October 2001, as did all but one senator. In November 2004, Rodham Clinton announced that she would seek a second term in the United States Senate and easily won the Democratic nomination. Throughout the general election campaign, Rodham Clinton consistently led in the polls by wide margins. She won the election on the 7th of November with 67 percent of the vote carrying all but 4 of New York's 62 counties. In 2005, Rodham Clinton issued two studies that examined the disbursement of federal homeland security funds to local communities and first responders, and In 2005, when the act was up for renewal, she worked to address some of the civil liberties concerns with it, before voting in favor of a compromise renewed act in March 2006 that gained large majority support.
Rodham Clinton strongly supported military action in Afghanistan, saying it was a chance to combat terrorism while improving the lives of Afghan women who suffered under the Taliban government. She voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution, and after the Iraq War began, Rodham Clinton made trips to both Iraq and Afghanistan to visit American troops. Noting that war deployments were draining regular and reserve forces, she co-introduced legislation to increase the size of the regular United States Army to ease the strain. In late 2005, Rodham Clinton said that while immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake, Bush's pledge to stay "until the job is done" is also misguided, as it gives Iraqis "an open-ended invitation not to take care of themselves." She criticized the administration for making poor decisions in the war, but added that it was more important to solve the problems in Iraq. Rodham Clinton supported retaining and improving health benefits for veterans, and lobbied against the closure of several military bases.
In 2005, Rodham Clinton was joined by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once led the Republican opposition to Bill Clinton's administration, in support of a proposal for incremental universal health care. She also worked with Bill Frist, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, in support of modernizing medical records with computer technology to reduce human errors, such as misreading prescriptions. Rodham Clinton voted against the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States, and joined about half of the Democratic Senators in support of the filibuster against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court, subsequently voting against his confirmation along with almost all Democratic members of the Senate. On the Senate floor, Rodham Clinton said Alito would "roll back decades of progress and roll over when confronted with an administration too willing to flaunt the rules and looking for a rubber stamp."
Rodham Clinton opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and supported a February 2007 non-binding Senate resolution against it, which failed to gain cloture. In March 2007 she voted in favor of a war spending bill that required President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within a certain deadline; it passed almost completely along party lines but was subsequently vetoed by President Bush. In May 2007 a compromise war funding bill that removed withdrawal deadlines but tied funding to progress benchmarks for the Iraqi government passed the Senate by a vote of 80-14; Rodham Clinton was one of the 14 that voted against it.
In March 2007, in response to the dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy, Rodham Clinton called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, and launched an Internet campaign to gain petition signatures towards this end. In May and June 2007, regarding the high-profile, hotly debated comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, Rodham Clinton twice voted against amendments that would have derailed the bill, thus moving forward the bill's chance of passage. Subsequently she voted in favor of a cloture motion to bring the bill to a vote, which failed. When the bill was again brought forward, she continued to vote in favor of cloture motions to consider it.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON QUOTES
"There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country."
"The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible."
"The failure was principally political and policy driven, there were many interests that weren't at all happy about losing their financial stake in a way that the system currently operates, but I think I became a lightning rod for some of that criticism."
"I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard."
"Eleanor Roosevelt understood that every one of us every day has choices to make about the kind of person we are and what we wish to become. You can decide to be someone who brings people together, or you can fall prey to those who wish to divide us. You can be someone who educates yourself, or you can believe that being negative is clever and being cynical is fashionable. You have a choice."
"No government can love a child, and no policy can substitute for a family's care. But at the same time, government can either support or undermine families as they cope with moral, social and economic stresses of caring for children."
"I'm sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we're Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration."
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