What You May Not Know About Hillary Clinton

Sunday, December 9, 2007


1.It's a story she seldom tells, not even in her autobiography. But Clinton, who opposed the Vietnam War, says she once tried to join the Marines shortly after the conflict ended. She recounted the failed enlistment one time when she was first lady, in a speech to female veterans in June 1994. She said she went to an Arkansas military recruitment office shortly before she married Bill Clinton in fall 1975. Once the Marine recruiter saw the bespectacled law professor, she told the group, he rejected her by saying, "You're too old, you can't see and you're a woman."

2.Bill Clinton is renowned today for the millions he commands as a public speaker and business consultant. But in the early 1990s when he was making $35,000 a year as the governor of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton was the family's breadwinner, earning more than $100,000 a year from her law firm salary and corporate board fees. Lafarge, a U.S. cement maker owned by a French conglomerate, was one of her largest sources of income, paying her $31,000 a year to serve on its board. Shortly before Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Lafarge was fined $1.8 million by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution violations at its Alabama plant. A year later, the Clinton administration reduced that fine to less than $600,000. Hillary Clinton had left the board in spring 1992 after her husband won the Democratic nomination.

3. Each year, members of Congress are required to disclose the gifts they receive from outside interests. But lawmakers are exempted from including those gifts that go directly to their spouse, meaning that Clinton does not have to list on her Senate ethics report the gifts Bill Clinton gets. One such gift came in November 2003, when the former president received a 4.5-carat diamond brooch worth thousands of dollars from the World Diamond Conference in Belgium. The flag-shaped brooch was made of white gold and 177 small rubies and diamonds. It now sits in a display case in the ex-president's office.

4. Clinton took a ribbing earlier this year when a YouTube video surfaced of her singing the national anthem. But the truth is that she holds one entertainment award few in politics can boast: a Grammy. That's right, Clinton won the award in 1997 for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio edition of her book "It Takes a Village."

-- John Solomon

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