Hillary Clinton: From former first lady to potential commander-in-chief


Courtesy the AP

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton receives the National Defense Foundation University’s (NDU) American Patriot Award during a gala dinner at the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. The American Patriot Award annually recognizes leaders of extraordinary caliber who have strengthened America’s strategic interests and advanced global security.

After a tough fight in the primary, Hillary Clinton has emerged as the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

She is the first woman nominated for president for either of the two major parties.

Clinton has had a distinguished career in politics spanning almost 50 years and is also the first woman to achieve a number of milestones.

Raised as a conservative, Clinton was president of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she majored in political science. After working as an intern for the Republican party, she become a Democrat in 1968, citing “veiled” racist messages and future Republican president Richard Nixon’s treatment of his primary opponent Nelson Rockefeller.

After graduating, she enrolled at Yale law school where she met Bill Clinton. During her time as the First Lady of Arkansas, Clinton practiced law and was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. She was on the Wal-Mart board of directors for six years.

During the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton emphasized his wife’s political competency, saying the nation would get “two for the price of one,” and that she would play a prominent role in his administration.

As First Lady, Clinton was memorable for her participation in the politics of her husband’s administration. Clinton was at the forefront of the 1993 initiative to create a universal health care system in the United States. The initiative failed, and also hurt Clinton’s reputation.

Clinton was elected senator in the state of New York in 2000, becoming the first woman to hold elected office while or after being the First Lady. After the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, Clinton fought for funding to aid in the recovery of the attacks and improve security. She supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and voted in favor of the Wall Street bailout.

Clinton narrowly lost the 2008 Democratic nomination for president to President Obama. Obama then appointed her his first Secretary of State. She reportedly forged a good relationship with the president despite running against him.

As Secretary, she supported troop surges in Afghanistan and also intervened in the Arab Spring protests in 2011, backing some regimes while supporting protestors in others. She supported the excursion into Pakistan to capture Osama bin Laden, and argued against releasing photographs of the dead man to the public.

She advocated gay rights and visited 112 nations, more than any previous Secretary of State.

The U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya was attacked in 2012, leading to the deaths of four Americans. Clinton and the State Department have been widely criticized in the following years for not responding to requests for more guards and safety precautions. The House Benghazi committee eventually found no evidence of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part.

Clinton has been widely criticized for storing her emails on a private server, as opposed to a more secure, government intranet. It was eventually found that out of the 30,000 emails investigated, three were classified.

In one of the biggest issues of the election, an FBI investigation concluded that no charges should be filed against Clinton, although they stated that she was “extremely careless in the handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

On the issues:

Student Debt:

Clinton supports a loan forgiveness program to help alleviate student debt.


Clinton supports raising federal income taxes on the wealthiest Americans to curb the deficit and the taxing of offshore corporate bank accounts. She also supports raising the minimum wage,


Clinton does not support deportation of all undocumented immigrants or those who are Muslim, although she does advocate deporting “violent criminals, terrorists, and anyone who threatens us.” She also supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.


Clinton supports expansion of background checks to encompass those with severe mental illness, not just felony crimes, citing recent mass shootings in which the mentally ill acquired firearms legally. She supports an assault weapons ban and is unclear on her stance on concealed-carry permits.


Clinton supports the Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court keeping abortion legal. She supports abortion if the woman’s life is at risk and in the case of rape, stating that abortion is not an easy choice.

Health Care: Clinton does not believe in replacing the Affordable Care Act and supports individual mandates and Medicaid expansion. She was at the forefront of a push during her husband’s administration for universal health care.

Social Security:

Clinton proposes raising the amount of taxes that the wealthy pay into the social security fund to revitalize and expand the program, saying that it should not be cut nor the retirement age raised.

Foreign policy:

Clinton was generally one of the more interventionist voices in the Obama administration. Clinton has called for ground forces in Syria in conjunction with the air campaign to intervene in the civil war and combat ISIS.


Clinton supports using a slew of tactics to crack down on terrorist funding and communications. She supports diplomacy to end Syria’s civil war, saying that the people there should be allowed to set up their own government. She does not believe in an increase in military funding, citing “smart power” and “eliminating certain funding.”


She supports free trade, wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Teamster and United Auto Worker’s unions have endorsed her.

Gay Marriage:

Clinton supports same-sex marriage and LGBTQIA+ rights.


Clinton supports fracking and opposes offshore drilling. She opposes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She supports emissions reductions to curb climate change.

Campaign Finance:

She supports overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that allows nonprofit corporations to donate to political campaigns without restriction from the government.