UPDATE: When we wrote this story at the end of July, we had hoped we'd be able to do what we're doing now, which is to cross some of the issues off this list as Clinton clarifies her positions on contentious topics.
And that's exactly what's been happening. In August, Clinton tweeted this:
And on Tuesday, she announced that she opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline. Here's the update:
As secretary of state, Clinton was heavily involved in reviewing the Keystone XL oil pipeline to ship Canadian oil to Nebraska. The State Department studied the pipeline and found no significant environmental damage would occur from approving this fourth phase of the pipeline, according to Politico. The broader review continues, and the Obama administration hasn't made a final decision on the pipeline.
But while the president is widely expected to opt against building the pipeline, Clinton hedged. Environmentalists consider the pipeline a key litmus test for candidates and don't want to see it built. But many Democrats -- all but the most liberal ones -- support it.
In response to several questions in July on her position, she declined to comment and eventually said:
"This is President Obama's decision, and I am not going to second-guess him," she said, adding: "If it's undecided when I become president, I will answer your question."
The Clinton camp doubled down soon after, with a spokeswoman saying: "...Given her former role as Sec state and having been part of the Keystone process, she believes that weighing in now could be disruptive to the process and not responsible to do. She is just in a different situation than other candidates."
That appears to have suddenly changed Tuesday. At a appearance in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton said it’s time to state her opinion because the review process is taking too long. “I oppose it," she said.
In August, Clinton similarly avoided taking a position on banning offshore drilling - especially controversial drilling in the rich oil reserves in Arctic. The first part of Clinton's energy proposal, which she released July 27, indicated she wants to ensure "safe and responsible" fossil fuel production by designating some areas that are "too sensitive" to drill as off-limits. Now, we know that banning all drilling in the Arctic is exactly what President Hillary Clinton would do. It's a break from President Obama, whose Interior Department recently gave Shell the go-ahead to drill off Alaksa's northern coast. And it's a win for environmentalists.
But even with Keystone and offshore drilling, environmentalists may not be entirely happy with Clinton's vision so far to combat climate change, because her July 27 document left out many of the day's controversies in the environmental world. She proposed expanding solar panels and working to have every American home in 2027 powered by renewable energy, but she originally made no mention of the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking or offshore drilling.
Her campaign maintained she plans to roll out more details later, but there was reason to believe we might not get clarity on how she feels about some of these topics. That's because Clinton has so far avoided taking stances on several controversial issues of domestic and foreign policy -- most notably ones that divide her Democratic base.
Her campaign has been unapologetic about this approach, leading our own Chris Cillizza to label her Keystone position a "ridiculous hedge." We now know her position on Keystone. But we still don't know the Democratic front-runner's stance on at least
six five four big issues she'd have some control over if she were president.
Here they are:
Clinton's energy proposal also made no mention of America's biggest energy boom: Natural gas. But there are signs she would support its growth, even though many environmentalists oppose the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing -- or "fracking."
At a clean energy summit in Nevada last year -- before she was a candidate for president -- Clinton described natural gas as a bridge to building a clean-energy economy, though she had some concerns about the amount of methane that fracking produces.
"With the right safeguards in place, gas is cleaner than coal," she said.
Clinton has been up-close to two presidents forging major trade deals in her career, and she has a complicated relationship with free-trade agreements. She's gone from "meh" as first lady to championing President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership deal as secretary of state.
As a candidate, it seems she's wavering between the two:
"Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security," she said in April. She encouraged Obama to listen to the concerns of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), but it wasn't clear whether she supported the final resolution that was eventually reached.
3. Medical device tax
Congressional Republicans are pushing to get rid of a tax on the medical device industry that was enshrined in Obama's 2010 health-care reform law to help pay for expanded health-care coverage. Many Democrats in Congress also support getting rid of this tax, though it's not clear that there's enough to survive a veto from Obama.
The House of Representatives passed a repeal bill in June with 46 Democrats on board. The bill got exactly the two-thirds support it would need to override a veto (280-140), but some members were missing and some Democrats who support repeal might not also vote to override a veto. The Republican-led Senate is considering a vote, too; it approved a repeal amendment 79-20 in 2013, when Democrats were in the majority.
Clinton was asked about the tax at a conference with the medical industry in 2014, where she said: "On the tax itself, again, I think we have to look to see what are the pluses and minuses that are embodied in a decision."
She has given no reason since then to believe she's made up her mind.
4. Breaking up big banks
In 1933, Congress instituted a law requiring big banks to separate their investment and commercial-banking practices. Know as the Glass-Steagall Act, it aimed to avoid irresponsible lending that could lead to a financial crisis.
President Bill Clinton repealed the law, but a bipartisan coalition in Congress that includes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have proposed reinstating it.
But Clinton will not make that a feature of her campaign, one of her economic advisers told Reuters this month. He gave no reason.
Anne Gearan contributed to this report