50 Interesting Facts about Hillary Clinton

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published October 3, 2016Updated October 2, 2016
  • Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born on October 26, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Park Ridge, Illinois. She has two brothers, Hugh (1950) and Anthony (1957). They were raised “with traditional Midwestern values: family, church on Sunday, respect your elders, do well in school, do well in sports,” as her brother Hugh once said.[7]
  • Hillary Clinton was the only First Lady to be subpoenaed, which occurred due to her involvement with the Whitewater controversy in 1996. She was also first to repeatedly be deposed as part of ongoing criminal and civil investigations, including Travelgate and Filegate. Bill and Hillary were the only First Couple to be fingerprinted by the FBI.[10]
  • In the early 1990s, when Bill Clinton was making $35,000 as governor of Arkansas, Hillary was making $100,000 a year from her law firm salary and corporate board fees. A portion of her salary was from Lafarge, a U.S. cement maker which was later fined for pollution violations at its Alabama plant.[11]
  • Hillary Clinton was the first woman elected to the New York senate. She was also the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm.[10]
  • During her time as First Lady, Hillary was also subject to intense scrutiny and criticism
  • Hillary Clinton was the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree (Yale Law, 1973) and to run for and be elected Senator (NY, 2000).[10]
  • Shortly before she married Bill Clinton in 1975, Hillary tried to join the Marines, probably to make a political statement. The Marine recruiter rejected her on the grounds that she was “too old,” couldn’t see very well, and that she was a woman.[11]
  • Gennifer Flowers, who supposedly had a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton, said in 2007 that she was considering voting for Hillary for president, saying “I would love to see a woman president. I just didn’t think it would be her.”[3]
  • In 1997, Hillary Clinton won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio of her book It Takes a Village.[4]
  • Hillary has been dogged by rumors that she was a lesbian based on her assertive manner, lack of interest in her appearance during adolescence, and her entourage of women staffers who called themselves “HERC and the girls” (playing on her initials, HRC).[6]
  • Hugh Ellsworth Rodham (1911-1993), father of Hillary Clinton, worked as a textile wholesaler and contributed to her initially conservative ideology. While Hillary said her childhood resembled the television series Father Knows Best, biographers have described her father as domineering and even verbally rough, which may have prepared her for the rough-and-tumble life of politics.[10]
  • Hillary Clinton’s fifth grade teacher, Mrs. King, was so fond of teaching Hillary, it was said that she followed her to the sixth grade so that she could have her in class for a second year.[9]
  • When she was a teenager, Hillary Clinton organized a baby-sitting group to look after the children of migrant Mexican workers in rural Illinois.[4]
  • Hillary would sometimes come to class in the ninth grade wearing her Girl Scout uniform. Perhaps not coincidentally, she would later promote school uniforms.[9]
  • During her first year of college, Clinton was elected president of the Wellesley Young Republicans Club
  • As a young adult, Hillary Clinton was an active Republican and even campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement in America, Wellesley influences, and her view that the Richard Nixon campaign against Nelson Rockefeller included “veiled racism” prompted Hillary to leave the Republican party.[7]
  • Hillary Clinton attended Wellesley College and was elected senior class president in 1969. She initially struggled with academic confidence at Wellesley and wanted to drop out. Her mother, however, encouraged her to stay.[4]
  • Hillary Clinton and her Wellesley College friends were self-confessed “wonks,” the kind of students who lingered in the dining hall for hours debating issues of the day.[9]
  • Hillary Clinton won the TV quiz show College Bowl several times and landed in Life Magazine in 1969 after making headlines as the first student commencement speaker at Wellesley College. While some older alumnae thought her “mild rebuke” of an earlier speaker was rude, she received a standing ovation lasting seven minutes.[7]
  • As a senior at Wellesley College, Hillary Clinotn wrote her thesis on Chicago’s radical community organizer Saul Alinsky under the direction of Professor Schechter. Her thesis was supposedly suppressed years later while she was at the White House.[2]
  • Hillary Clinton was accepted to both Yale and Harvard Law schools. A friend introduced her to one of the legendary Harvard law professors saying, “Professor so-and-so, this is Hillary Rodham. She’s trying to decide between us and our nearest competitor.” The professor replied, “First of all, we have no nearest competitor, and secondly, we don’t need any more women.” Hillary decided to go to Yale.[4]
  • After graduating from Wellesley College, Hillary worked in Alaska, sliming fish in a fish processing plant. The plant fired her and then shut down after she complained about unhealthy conditions.[7]
  • Hillary was among only 27 women in a class of 235 at Yale Law.[9]
  • Hillary first met Bill Clinton when she got up from her desk, walked over to him, extended her hand, and said, “If you keep looking at me, and I’m going to keep looking back, we might as well be introduced. I’m Hillary Rodham.”[10]
  • After Bill Clinton’s mother spoke disparagingly of Hillary’s looks, he told his mother, “I have to have somebody to talk to. Don’t you understand that?” His extramarital activities, however, nearly ruptured his marriage several times.[9]
  • Hillary Clinton, who is a Methodist, and Bill Clinton, who is a Southern Baptist, were married in a Methodist ceremony in their living room on October 11, 1975.[9]
  • When asked what attracted Hillary Clinton to Bill, she replied, “He wasn’t afraid of me.”[9]
  • Despite being rejected by NASA as a girl, Clinton tried to reverse spending cuts imposed on NASA in 2008
  • Hillary Clinton wrote to NASA as a child inquiring how to become an astronaut. NASA replied that girls could not be astronauts.[9]
  • In 1988 and 1991, The National Law Journal named Hillary one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in America.[4]
  • After graduating from Yale, Hillary Clinton took the bar exam in Arkansas and Washington. She failed the D.C. bar but passed the one in Arkansas.[4]
  • Hillary Clinton has been called “The Lady Macbeth of Little Rock.”[9]
  • Hillary Clinton served on the boards of both TCBY and Wal-Mart.[9]
  • Al Gore and Hillary Clinton reportedly never had a good relationship and vied over access to Bill. The rift deepened when Gore chose to distance himself from the Clintons in the 2000 presidential election.[10]
  • When Hillary Clinton met mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary in 1995 in Nepal, she said to the press that her mother had named her after the famed climber. Sir Edmund Hillary became famous in 1953. Hillary Clinton, however, was born in 1947. In 2006, she said the story was a family myth.[5]
  • Hillary Clinton's firm character led to The New Yorker cartoon of a woman shopping for a new jacket and saying, “Nothing too Hillary.”[4]
  • When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sent a check to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992, he immediately said, “We can’t cash this.” Hillary replied,” Make a copy, and then cash it.”[4]
  • When Hillary first heard that Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, she attributed it to a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The phrase has since been used many times in popular culture. Rush Limbaugh, for example, refers to himself as Mr. Big of his fan base, “The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.” A number of entrepreneurs sell VRWC (Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy) merchandise.[10]
  • Hillary began calling herself “Hillary Clinton” or “Mrs. Bill Clinton” in order to appeal to more voters in Arkansas in the early 1980s.[7]
  • Many biographers and observers have voiced their suspicions that Hillary and Bill Clinton’s marriage was and is based on shared political ambition to revolutionize the Democratic Party and secure the presidency for Bill, rather than on love.[4]
  • Bill and Hillary have one of the most scrutinized marriages in the history of U.S. politics
  • While talking with public radio interviewer Terry Gross in 2004, Bill Clinton essentially defined his and Hillary's marital dynamic as being similar to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who worked together in the White House but led separate lives after she learned about his affair with Lucy Mercer Rutherford.[4]
  • In 1974, Hillary Clinton served as a member of the impeachment inquiry staff during Nixon’s impeachment proceedings.[9]
  • In 1977, Hillary landed a place at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 1820, it was one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms west of the Mississippi River.[4]
  • When Bill Clinton was inaugurated as governor of Arkansas on January 10, 1979, Hillary wore a $20,000 necklace that contained the 4.25-carat Kahn diamond. The Kahn was mined at the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park, the state park that holds the only diamonds ever discovered in North America.[7]
  • When Hillary Clinton kissed Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, during a visit to the West Bank on November 11, 1999, the photo made front-page news and Hillary spent considerable time explaining the kiss was a social grace required of a first lady.[6]
  • In one of Hillary Clinton’s first trials before a jury, she represented a canning company that had been sued by someone who claimed they found the rear end of a rat in a can. Though she won the case, she became the butt of her husband’s jokes for years over what he called her “rat’s ass” case.[9]
  • The suicide of Vice Deputy White House Council Vince Foster, whose body was found in Fort Macy Park outside of Washington D.C. on July 20, 1993, sparked several conspiracy theories involving Hillary Clinton—particularly after several of her aides removed unidentified files from his office before the FBI could secure it.[10]
  • When Hillary Clinton encouraged White House chef Pierre Chambrin to resign in 1994, he was given $37,026 in exchange for his agreement not to discuss the Clintons or the circumstances of his dismissal. This severance bonus was unprecedented and was questioned by Congress.[9]
  • Eleanor Roosevelt was also a powerful and revolutionary First Lady
  • Hillary Clinton's friendship as First Lady with former mentor Jean Houston ended after Bob Woodward revealed in a 1996 book that Houston helped Clinton hold imaginary conversations with her hero Eleanor Roosevelt. One of the conversations was taped and her critics called it “Wackygate.”[1]
  • When asked about her image in 1993, Hillary replied that she is a “Rorschach test.”[8]
  • Though Hillary Clinton had appeared on Vogue in 1998, she apparently backed out at the last minute for a 2007 shoot, claiming she didn’t want to look too “feminine.“[9]
  • One biographer says that Hillary Clinton would have preferred a larger family but suffered from a medical condition that impaired her fertility.[9]
  • Some scholars speculate that President Obama has given voice to the rising possibility of women with his more feminine, inclusive approach to problem-solving. They suggest that Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is still trying to emulate a male model which requires combat and demonizing enemies.[1]

1 Abcarian, Robin. “Hillary Clinton Failed to Master Female Approach, Former Mentor Jean Houston Says.” Los Angeles Times. May 12, 2008. Accessed: February 23, 2009.

2 Dedman, Bill. “Reading Hillary Rodham’s Hidden Thesis: Clinton White House Asked Wellesley to Close off Access.” MSNBC. May 9, 2007. Accessed: February 23, 2009.

3 Drew, Richard. “Gennifer Flowers Mulls Voting for Clinton.” MSNBC. December 7, 2007. Accessed: February 24, 2009.

4 Gerth, Jeff and Don Van Natta Jr. Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007.

5 Hakim, Danny. “Hillary, Not as in the Mount Everest Guy.” The New York Times. October 17, 2006. Accessed: February 23, 2009.

6 Harpaz, Beth J. The Girls in the Van: Covering Hillary. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2001.

7 King, Norman. Hillary: Her True Story. New York: A Birch Lane Press Book, 1993.

8 Osborne, Claire G. The Unique Voice of Hillary Rodham Clinton. New York: Avon Books, 1997.

9 Sheehy, Gail. Hillary’s Choice. New York: Ballantine Publishing Group, 2000.

10 Smith, Sally Bedell. For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years. New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2007.

11 Solomon, John. “What You May Not Know About Hillary Clinton.” The Washington Post. December 9, 2007. Accessed: February 23, 2009.