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July 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight

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Essential question

Why do you think Hillary Clinton is seen as a polarizing figure by many voters?


Hillary Clinton has spent roughly half of her life in politics as First Lady of Arkansas and the United States, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State and is now set to receive her party’s nomination this week in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention. Such vast experiences have allowed for both praise and criticism of Clinton.

“A lot of America liked and admired that. Some other parts of America found that unappetizing and even kind of threatening,” according to biographer Michael Tomasky who wrote “Hillary’s Turn: Inside Her Improbable, Victorious Senate Campaign.”

While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy.

In October, Clinton faced an 11-hour-long aggressive line of questioning by Republican members of Congress about her actions as Secretary of State during and after the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

“She had every reason to think in 1999, forget this, I’m going to go off and run a huge foundation and make a lot of money,” according to Tomasky. “But no, she stayed in it, and now she’s on the precipice of maybe of being the President.”

As a U.S. senator for eight years, Clinton made a name for herself as a national security expert—she voted for the war in Iraq and never missed a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing, according to biographer Mark Landler.

“If she’s anything, it’s resilient,” Tomasky said.


Key terms

national convention–a convention of a major political party, especially one that nominates a candidate for the presidency

Warm up questions (before watching the video)

1) What major political event is taking place in Philadelphia this week?

2) What are some positions in politics that Hillary Clinton has held?

3) Do you think news coverage of Clinton has been fair? Explain.

Critical thinking questions

1) Do you think Hillary Clinton is held to a different standard than other politicians? Explain.

2) Michael Tomasky said, “A lot of America liked and admired that. Some other parts of America found that unappetizing and even kind of threatening,” regarding Clinton’s work in politics. Why would some Americans find Clinton’s experiences “unappetizing” or “threatening”?

3) Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years and 20 times overall. What are some reasons why so many people admire Clinton?

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