Chastened Hillary faces down her critics
Saturday 01 October 1994
Not long ago, when the health bill's demise was a foregone conclusion, she was portrayed as being in a state of clinical depression. But the most influential First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt is as resilient as she is controversial. This week, in a rare series of interviews, she suugested that while her role in the second half of Bill Clinton's term may be different, it will not be that of a shrinking violet.
The last 18 months have been rough for Mrs Clinton. They have seen the death of her father, the suicide of Vince Foster, the ousting of old friends from Arkansas from the White House inner circle, Whitewater, and the embarrassment over her prowess at cattle futures trading. Then came the debacle over health care, where her political instincts, supposedly keener than her husband's, failed to tell her that without bi-partisan support, an attempt at reform was doomed. Worst of all, her chemistry with the public is working against her.
Once, she was more popular than the President, lauded as Saint Hillary on the cover of the New York Times magazine. But, according to a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll yesterday, her approval rating has dropped to 39 per cent, lower even than Mr Clinton's 41 per cent.
'It's not been easy but we've learned a lot,' she told the Washington Post. 'Boy, have we learned a lot.' She had not yet thought through how she intended to tackle the next two years, Mrs Clinton told the Wall Street Journal. 'But I want to be as effective as possible.'
Mrs Clinton will not abandon the cause of health care. On Thursday she was on national television, addressing students at George Washington University. 'Health care reform is not a boxing match that goes 15 rounds and suddenly it's over,' she said, but 'a journey we must keep making together'.
Two days before, she played the traditional First Lady, as she accompanied Nina Yeltsin around Washington, talking about 'food and flowers and children and husbands'. But that display of wifely meekness came on the heels of her return from vigorous campaigning for Kathleen Brown as California's Governor.
Hillary Mark Two may not be that different from the orginal version, perhaps a mite more attentive to her official role, but still a highly visible spokeswoman for the administration and for Democratic candidates, especially women, in this autumn's mid- term elections.
She must disarm her critics, not just conservatives and the virulent radio hosts, but feminists, who accuse her of not doing enough to keep women in high positions.
She finds solace in biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt. One of Ms Roosevelt's aphorisms is a special favourite. 'A woman is like a teabag. When she is in hot water she just gets stronger.'
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Do you know this man? Amnesia sufferer found in park pleads for help in identifying who he is
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...