Editor's note: Reuters and NBC News report that White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri is stepping down to possibly join Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, if the former secretary of state decides to run. Palmieri's departure from the White House has not been officially announced. Earlier today, the White House said senior presidential adviser Dan Pfeiffer is stepping down. - Stephanie
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (/ˈhɪləri daɪˈæn ˈrɒdəm ˈklɪntən/; born October 26, 1947) is a former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States. From 2009 to 2013, she was the 67th Secretary of State, serving under President Barack Obama. She previously represented New York in the U.S. Senate (2001 to 2009). Before that, as the wife of President Bill Clinton, she was First Lady from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
A native of Illinois, Hillary Rodham was the first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College in 1969 and earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973. After a brief stint as a Congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas and married Bill Clinton in 1975. Rodham cofounded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families in 1977. In 1978, she became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation, and in 1979 the first female partner at Rose Law Firm. The National Law Journal twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America. As First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992 with husband Bill as Governor, she led a task force that reformed Arkansas's education system. During that time, she was on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporations.
In 1994, as First Lady of the United States, her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval from the U.S. Congress. However, in 1997 and 1999, Clinton played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. Her years as First Lady drew a polarized response from the American public. The only First Lady to have been subpoenaed, she testified before a federal grand jury in 1996 regarding the Whitewater controversy, but was never charged with wrongdoing in this or several other investigations during the Clinton presidency. Her marriage also endured the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.
After moving to the state, Clinton was elected the first female Senator from New York; she is the only First Lady ever to have run for public office. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, she supported military action in Afghanistan and the Iraq War Resolution, but subsequently objected to the George W. Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq and continued to oppose most of its domestic policies. Clinton was reelected to the Senate in 2006. Running in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton won far more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, but narrowly lost the nomination to U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who went on to win the national election.
Obama nominated Clinton to be Secretary of State, and she was confirmed by the Senate in January 2009. She was at the forefront of the U.S. response to the Arab Spring, including advocating for the U.S. military intervention in Libya. As Secretary of State, she took responsibility for security lapses related to the 2012 Benghazi attack, which resulted in the deaths of American consulate personnel, but defended her personal actions in regard to the matter. Clinton visited more countries than any other Secretary of State. She viewed "smart power" as the strategy for asserting U.S. leadership and values, by combining military power with diplomacy and American capabilities in economics, technology, and other areas. She encouraged empowerment of women everywhere, and used social media to communicate the U.S. message abroad.