Profile: Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton (file picture)

Hillary Rodham Clinton has served as President Barack Obama's secretary of state since the start of his administration in January 2009.

She had always said she would step down before the end of Mr Obama's first term.

At 65, she is known for her punishing travel schedule.

A leading international figure and Democratic politician, the former first lady and senator is considered a front-runner for the 2016 presidential election.

She has not made her intentions clear on another run at the White House.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

  • Born 26 October, 1947 in Chicago
  • Graduated from Yale Law School in 1973
  • Married Bill Clinton in 1975
  • 1993-2001: Campaigned for expanding health insurance and woman's rights as first lady
  • Elected New York senator in 2000
  • Re-elected by wide margin in 2006
  • 2008: Failed bid for Democratic Party presidential nomination
  • 2009-2013: Secretary of State

However there were questions over her health in December 2012, when she suffered a concussion and received hospital treatment for a blood clot.

Hillary Diane Rodham was born in October 1947 in Chicago. In the 1960s she attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and became active in student politics.

She went on to Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. They married in 1975. She remained politically active after Mr Clinton became governor of Arkansas in 1978.

When Mr Clinton successfully campaigned for the presidency in 1992, he quipped that he was offering voters two presidents "for the price of one".

Under fire

As first lady, Mrs Clinton campaigned for women's rights and universal healthcare, raising her profile both at home and internationally.

However following her failure to deliver on a plan for universal health coverage - which was never even debated in Congress - many critics saw her as overambitious and politically naive.

From the mid-1990s - and throughout during Bill Clinton's second term - she became involved in the various scandals that marred his presidency.

Hillary and Bill Clinton, 1993 picture Hillary Rodham Clinton first came to prominence as first lady

There were congressional hearings and an investigation into the Whitewater affair, a failed real estate project in which the Clintons had invested.

They were cleared of wrongdoing.

She also endured media attention over Mr Clinton's affairs - notably his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which came to light in 1998.

Hillary Rodham Clinton developed an iron exterior that helped her ride personal and political storms.

She also lashed out at her husband's critics, declaring in a 1998 interview that the Lewinsky scandal - which led to impeachment proceedings - was inspired by a "vast right-wing conspiracy".

In 2000, as the Clinton presidency was drawing to a close, she successfully ran for senator in New York State, positioning herself in the centre of the Democratic Party.

She voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but distanced herself from the conduct of the conflict, and called for the withdrawal of US troops. She easily won re-election as a senator in 2006.

Presidential run

In 2008 she sought the Democratic nomination for the presidential election. However critics - including within her own party - saw her as a divisive figure for whom many Americans would never vote.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (file picture) Mrs Clinton agreed to serve in Barack Obama's 'team of rivals'

In the end, Barack Obama secured the nomination and went on to win the general election.

He named her as his secretary of state in an attempt to heal the rift within the Democratic party caused by a bruising primary campaign.

She became the first-ever first lady to serve in the US cabinet. During her four-year tenure, Mrs Clinton visited 112 countries - more than any previous secretary of state, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Mrs Clinton used her position to highlight women's rights and human rights. She also led the US response to the Arab Spring and the military intervention in Libya in 2011.

Benghazi attack

The state department came in for sustained criticism after an attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi in September 2012, in which the US ambassador was among those killed.

Mrs Clinton said she took responsibility for security failures at the outpost. A scheduled appearance before Congress was cancelled in December because of a stomach virus and a subsequent concussion.

She later also suffered a blood clot.

Her health problems may have cast a shadow over any future political roles.

Although some regard her as a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2016, she has not announced plans to run for president again.

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