At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. Senator (2000 to 2008); First Lady (1992 to 2000)
- Birthday: Oct. 26, 1947
- Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
- Alma Mater: Wellesley College, B.A., 1969; Yale University, J.D., 1973
- Spouse: Bill Clinton
- Religion: Methodist
Path to Power
Born in Chicago in 1947 and raised in Park Ridge, Ill., to a father who ran a curtain factory and a mother who was a homemaker, Clinton grew up in a Republican family. Anticommunist sentiment ran high with her father, Hugh Rodham, and at the public schools she attended.
Republican to Democrat
Clinton entered the ranks of the sparsely populated Wellesley College Young Republicans, becoming president of the group during her freshman year. True to her upbringing, she kept a volume of Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative" on her dorm-room shelf.
For Clinton, "smart power" is the buzzword that came to define her agenda as secretary of state, emphasizing "a new era of engagement based on common interests, shared values and mutual respect."
Clinton's circle differs largely from that of her husband's, and did so even when she was in the White House. Her longtime aide Maggie Williams came to the rescue when things began to go badly during the 2008 presidential contest. Harold Ickes, the former deputy White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton until he was ousted, went on to become a senior adviser and helpmate in Hillary Clinton's 2000 New York Senate race. In that contest, Clinton relied on a handful of trusted aides that included spokesman Howard Wolfson, media consultant Mandy Grunwald, policy adviser Neera Tanden, and longtime confidante Ann Lewis, who worked Bill's 1996 reelection race and Hillary's 2006 Senate campaign.
In the State Department, Clinton has surrounded herself with close friends and former Senate and irst lady staffers. Personal aide Huma Abedin is working on the seventh floor as a senior adviser. Close friend Melanne Verveer was named Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues. She named her friend Judith McHale under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. Ellen Tauscher, who supported Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries, will serve as under secretary for arms control.