The Most Essential Articles Written About Hillary Clinton Over The Years

A lifetime of public service means a lifetime catalogued in the press—here is what you need to read

Introduction to her Wellesley College graduation speech from 1969 by university president Ruth M. Adams:

In addition to inviting Senator Brooke to speak to them this morning, the Class of '69 has expressed a desire to have one of their own group speak to them and for them at this morning's commencement. There was no debate so far as I could ascertain as to who their spokesman was to be: Miss Hillary Rodham. A member of this graduating class, she is a major in political science and a candidate for the degree with honors. In four years she has combined academic ability with active service to the College, her junior year having served as a Vil Junior, and then as a member of Senate and during the past year as president of College Government and presiding officer of College Senate. She is also cheerful, good humored, good company, and a good friend to all of us and it is a great pleasure to present to this audience Miss Hillary Rodham.

Read the full transcript from Hillary Rodham’s speech here and hear an excerpt from it here.

On her political evolution

\nThe Orlando Sentinel, February 27, 1992: “Hillary Clinton Stands By Her Own Mind”

“Do I have any aspirations to run for elective office, the answer is no,'' she told lawyers at a bar luncheon at the Omni Orlando Hotel. ''But do I have political aspirations? Yes.''

… Unlike some other would-be first ladies, Clinton won't shy away from speaking her mind. Her subject at Wednesday's luncheon was gender bias. She didn't mince words. ''There does still exist illegal and blatant discrimination against minorities and women,'' she told members of the Orange County Bar Association and the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

''For many women, just as for many minorities,'' she said, ''there is a glass ceiling that is difficult to see and difficult to break through.'’

\nThe Nation, November 25, 1996: “Hillary's Husband Re-Elected: The Clinton Marriage of Politics and Power”

In those days—the first Clinton campaign—we were still hearing a lot about getting two for the price of one. Elect one, get one free. Hillary was the freebie. Never before in American politics had any couple campaigned this way. The very American ideal of a "power couple" who add up to more than the sum of their parts was put on the ballot in the 1992 election. America was enthusiastic about it then. Indeed, the Clinton candidacy looked bravely feminist compared with the fuddy-duddy aura of Bush and Mrs. Bush. But misogyny was far from dead, as we were soon to see.

\nThe Atlantic, November 2006: “Take Two: Hillary’s Choice”

“But few in the Senate today would deny that, whatever her motives, Clinton is diligent about her work there, and successful in ways that have moderated her image. Her deft touch with conservative colleagues has thus far neutralized the Republican National Committee’s strategy of getting people to put her in the same mental category as bumbling liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. She’s no easy target. Her partnerships were deemed so successful in moderating her image that Karl Rove, according to a source close to him, sent word last year to halt Republican cooperation with her—an edict that has been ignored. As the atmosphere in Washington has deteriorated, Clinton has emerged within the Senate as the unlikeliest of figures: she, not George W. Bush, has turned out to be a uniter, not a divider.”

\nThe New York Times, February 2, 2013: “Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose”

“We do need a new architecture for this new world: more Frank Gehry than formal Greek,” Mrs. Clinton said in a speech last week that served as both a valedictory and a reminder of why she remained the nation’s most potent political figure aside from Mr. Obama.

And yet, interviews with more than a dozen current and former officials also paint a more complex picture: of a dogged diplomat and a sometimes frustrated figure who prized her role as team player, but whose instincts were often more activist than those of a White House that has kept a tight grip on foreign policy.

\nNew York Magazine, September 22, 2013: “Hillary in Midair”

There’s a weightlessness about Hillary Clinton these days. She’s in midair, launched from the State Department toward … what? For the first time since 1992, unencumbered by the demands of a national political campaign or public office, she is saddled only with expectations about what she’s going to do next. And she is clearly enjoying it.

\nNational Public Radio, June 12, 2014: Hillary Clinton goes on Fresh Air

On her "mistake" voting for the Iraq War Resolution

I made the best decision that I could at the time. And as we went through the years, and I saw the way that the president [George W. Bush] and his team used my vote and the other votes to authorize action, I became increasingly distressed. I did not believe that it was in the best interest of our country, and it was not something that I any longer wanted to be associated with.

Yet, at the same time, I was very clear that I felt a responsibility for having voted the way that I did, which led to sending hundreds of thousands of our young men and women into Iraq. And I didn't feel comfortable saying anything that could be interpreted as somehow turning my back on them.

On the scandals

\nThe New York Times, August 29, 1995: “What Went Wrong? How the Health Care Campaign Collapsed”

The Clinton health care plan became the captive of events, and politics, and an enormously complicated process headed by two figures making their debuts in national policy making -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, the impassioned First Lady, and Ira C. Magaziner, the cerebral policy guru and friend of Bill Clinton.

As the Administration and its Congressional allies take a brief vacation and try to gather strength for one last push on health care, some reflect on that moment in the spring of 1993 and see it as emblematic of lost time, lost opportunities, lost confidence.

Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1996

\nThe New York Times, January 6, 1996: “Elusive Papers of Law Firm Are Found at White House”

After nearly two years of searches and subpoenas, the White House said this evening that it had unexpectedly discovered copies of missing documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's law firm that describe her work for a failing savings and loan association in the 1980's.

\nThe Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2015: “Benghazi hearing ends after extraordinary 11-hour grilling of Clinton”

Through the lengthy session, Clinton maintained a relentlessly calm and smiling demeanor, showing few visible signs of fatigue other than a hoarse throat that began to develop in the 10th hour.

From her opening statement on, she sought to seize a rhetorical high ground above the partisan fray, reminding members of the panel that after attacks on diplomatic facilities during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in which hundreds of Americans were killed, members of both parties "rose above politics" to examine what had gone wrong.

On campaigning

\nNew York Magazine, January, 25 1999: “It Takes A… Carpetbagger”

Unlikely as it may seem to some, it has to be said that the trajectory of her life these last tumultuous years has been pretty unlikely, too. Hillary for Senate? Call it improbable, but admit, too, given who she is and what New York is, that it makes a strange kind of sense.

\nThe New York Times, January 8, 2008: “Women Are Never Front-Runners”

This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers. We have to be able to say: “I’m supporting her because she’ll be a great president and because she’s a woman.”

\nThe New York Times, June 8, 2008: “The Long Road to a Clinton Exit”

The night of May 6 became the moment that Mrs. Clinton’s desperate comeback bid for the Democratic presidential nomination finally crashed against the reality of delegate math. All she had left was the perception of momentum, and suddenly, that was gone.

Hers was a campaign of destiny that fell achingly short, garnering nearly 18 million votes in her quest to become the first woman to hold the presidency. “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it,” Mrs. Clinton said as she ended her campaign on Saturday.

A poster from Clinton's 2008 primary campaign.

\nNew York Magazine, May 30, 2016: “Hillary Clinton vs. Herself”

The idea that, at this point, there is some version of Hillary Clinton that we haven’t seen before feels implausible. Often, it feels like we know too much about her. She has been around for so long — her story, encompassing political intrigue and personal drama, has been recounted so many times — that she can seem a fictional character. To her critics, she is Lady Macbeth, to her adherents, Joan of Arc. As a young Hillary hater, I often compared her to Darth Vader — more machine than woman, her humanity ever more shrouded by Dark Side gadgetry. These days, I think of her as General Leia: No longer a rebel princess, she has made a wry peace with her rakish mate and her controversial hair and is hard at work, mounting a campaign against the fascistic First Order.

All the epic allusions contribute to the difficulty Clinton has long had in coming across as, simply, a human being.

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