Hillary Rodham Clinton is the junior United States Senator from New York, and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election. She is married to Bill Clinton—the 42nd President of the United States—and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
A native of Illinois, Hillary Rodham attracted national attention in 1969 when she delivered a controversial address as the first student to speak at commencement exercises for Wellesley College. She began her career as a lawyer after graduating from Yale Law School in 1973, moving to Arkansas and marrying Bill Clinton in 1975, following her career as a Congressional legal counsel; she was named the first female partner at Rose Law Firm in 1979 and was listed as one of the one hundred most influential lawyers in America in 1988 and 1991. She was the First Lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, was active in a number of organizations concerned with the welfare of children, and was on the board of Wal-Mart and several other corporate boards.
As First Lady of the United States, she took a prominent position in policy matters. Her major initiative, the Clinton health care plan, failed to gain approval by the U.S. Congress in 1994, but in 1997 she helped establish the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. She became the only First Lady to be subpoenaed, testifying before a federal grand jury as a consequence of the Whitewater scandal in 1996. She was never charged with any wrongdoing in this or several other investigations during her husband's administration. The state of her marriage to Bill Clinton was the subject of considerable public discussion following the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.
Moving to New York, Clinton was elected to the United States Senate in 2000, the first time an American first lady ran for public office and the first female senator from that state. There she initially supported the George W. Bush administration on some foreign policy issues, which included voting for the Iraq War Resolution. She has subsequently opposed the administration on its conduct of the Iraq War and has opposed it on most domestic issues. She was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006. Long described as a polarizing figure in American politics, she is the first woman in U.S. history with a good chance of being elected president. During 2007 she was consistently ranked as the front-runner in national polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. As the 2008 primaries begin, she is in a tight race with Senator Barack Obama.