Photograph of Bill Clinton against a blue-tinted American Flag background with a smaller inset photograph of Hillary Clinton in the lower right hand corner. Red and blue outlined white text.
Hillary Rodham Clinton provoked criticism as first lady for playing a key and public role in her husband’s 1992 presidential run and presidency. During the election, she made speeches, met voters, and advised her husband. She came under scrutiny for her law career and her work for liberal causes, and for her response to her critics (that she could have “stayed home and baked cookies”).
Bill Clinton implied during the campaign that Hillary would play an active role in his White House. Early on, she chose her own staff and established an office of her own in the West Wing, unheard of for a first lady at that time. Bill Clinton appointed Hillary to lead the Task Force on National Health Care. She appeared before congressional committees to present the task force’s findings, to largely favorable press, though Congress would reject the recommendations. Her prominent role in the proceedings may have handed Congress to Republicans in 1994.
During her husband’s re-election campaign in 1996, Hillary stepped back and acted more traditionally. She quickly began her own political career in the Senate. She later served as Barack Obama’s first secretary of state, and ran for president twice. Hillary Clinton remains a divisive but meaningful figure in American politics, almost overshadowing her husband at times.
Caroli, B. B. (2019). Hillary Clinton: United States Senator, first lady, and secretary of state. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Hillary-Rodham-Clinton