Political positions of Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former United States Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator from New York, and two-time Presidential candidate, has taken positions on many political issues through her public comments and senatorial voting record. As per custom, during her time as Secretary of State she largely avoided taking stances on most domestic or political issues.
- 1 Economic policy
- 2 Foreign policy
- 3 Civil liberties and democracy
- 4 Social policy
- 4.1 Poverty
- 4.2 Abortion and birth control
- 4.3 Women's rights
- 4.4 Faith-based initiatives
- 4.5 From childhood to retirement
- 4.6 Church and state
- 4.7 Income inequality
- 4.8 Crime
- 4.9 Death penalty
- 4.10 Education
- 4.11 Environment
- 4.12 LGBT rights
- 4.13 Stem cell research
- 4.14 Marijuana
- 4.15 Video game regulation
- 4.16 Internet neutrality
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Fiscal policy and taxation
In her address to the 2000 Democratic National Convention on August 14, 2000, she stressed her support for the social programs such as Social Security and Medicare that were established during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. "We'll never accomplish what we need to do for our children if we burden them with a debt they didn't create. Franklin Roosevelt said that Americans of his generation had a rendezvous with destiny. It's time to protect the next generation by using our budget surplus to pay down the national debt, save Social Security, modernize Medicare with a prescription drug benefit, and provide targeted tax cuts to the families who need them most."
In a 2005 fund-raising speech in San Francisco, she was highly critical of George W. Bush's tax cuts, saying that "Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." Clinton has sponsored legislation designed to reduce the deficit by reinstating some taxes that had been cut. She has co-sponsored legislation related to debt and deficit reduction. On the other hand, she has advocated for federal spending that many describe as wasteful, including the expenditure of $1 million of federal funds for a museum commemorating the Woodstock Music Festival."
In January 2008 Clinton announced an economic "stimulus package" totaling as much as $110 billion, to deal with the effects of a possible recession. The package would consist of funds to help deal with the effect of the subprime mortgage crisis, to help lower-income families pay for higher home energy costs, to extend unemployment insurance, and to possibly provide some tax refunds.
Clinton has not signed the tax cut pledge from Americans for Tax Reform, which pledges not to create new taxes or raise existing ones while in office. Clinton advocates repealing portions of the Bush tax cuts, effectively increasing some taxes to the higher rates which existed in 2000.
Clinton supports energy conservation, releasing oil reserves, increasing the number of hydrogen-powered vehicles, and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. She opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Bush administration's energy policy.
Clinton supports cap-and-trade, which allows companies to trade carbon credits, seeks an 80% carbon cut by 2050, seeks a 10% national energy reduction by 2020, advocates a zero emission policy for federal buildings by 2030, calls for raising gas mileage standards to 35 m.p.g. within 10 years (having indicated a willingness to use administrative power if Congress fails to act on this), and opposes drilling in the Atlantic. She has not taken a strong position on nuclear power, calling herself agnostic on the issue.
At a February 18, 2007 campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, Clinton stated, "I think nuclear power has to be part of our energy solution... We get about 20% of our energy from nuclear power in our country... other countries like France get much much more, so we do have to look at it because it doesn't put greenhouse gas emissions into the air." Subsequently in a July 2007 Democratic debate, when asked about nuclear power as an alternative energy source, she said, "I'm agnostic about nuclear power. Until we figure out what we're going to do with the waste and the cost, it's very hard to see nuclear as a part of our future. But that's where American technology comes in. Let's figure out what we're going to do about the waste and the cost if we think nuclear should be a part of the solution."
In November 2007 Clinton's energy plan further elucidated:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050
- Cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from projected levels by 2030.
- Transform the American carbon-based economy into an efficient green economy, creating at least 5 million jobs from clean energy over the next decade.
In July 2008[dated info] she continued to indicate an interest in the possibilities of vegetable oil economy, and said, "I will continue to be [the] biggest booster [of researchers and exhibitors of such technology]. We are living off the investments of previous generations. It is now time for us to step up and make those investments, and I am absolutely positive we will."
When asked if she agreed with the quote from Alan Arenholt that she used in her book, It Takes a Village: "The unfettered free market has been the most radically disruptive force in American life in the last generation," Hillary replied
"I believe that. That's why I put it in the book...And I just believe that there's got to be a healthy tension among all of our institutions in society, and that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity, our freedom in so many respects to make our lives our own but that it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well."
During the 1993 internal debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, Clinton made clear her feeling that its passage was getting higher priority within the administration than it should, especially compared to the Clinton health care reform plan. By most accounts, Clinton was also unenthusiastic about the merits of the agreement, believing it would cause a loss of American jobs and would be politically unpopular. Once her husband decided to proceed with NAFTA, Clinton as First Lady participated in at least five meetings at the White House aimed at securing Congressional passage of the agreement, which Gergen and former official Robert J. Shapiro felt showed she had been a "good soldier" in getting behind a settled decision, but which other attendees interpreted as showing Clinton was in fact behind the agreement. During later years of the administration and in her memoir, Clinton touted her husband's support for NAFTA.
During her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton repeatedly criticized the agreement, despite it being one of the major achievements of her husband's administration. She said, "NAFTA did not do what many had hoped. NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would." She did say that she believed in the underlying idea behind trade agreements such as NAFTA: "I believe in the general principles it represented. But what we have learned is that we have to drive a tougher bargain. Our market is the market that everybody wants to be in. We should quit giving it away so willy-nilly. I believe we need tougher enforcement of the trade agreements we already have." She promised that if elected, she would work to implement changes to it that would benefit American workers, saying "I want to be a president who focuses on smart, pro-American trade. I will review every trade agreement. I'm going to ask for revisions that I think will actually benefit our country, particularly our workers, our exporters... And NAFTA will be part of that review, to try to reform and improve it."
In 2005, Clinton voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement, believing that it did not provide adequate environmental or labor standards. Again, she differed with her husband who, as the former president, supported the agreement.
Clinton, together with fellow New York Senator Charles Schumer, welcomed a 2006 decision by the United States Commerce Department that called for a 108.3% duty on imports from Chinese candlemakers, as the imports sought to circumvent an Anti-dumping Duty Order. Clinton stated, "This is a real victory for the Syracuse candle-making industry. Our manufacturers deserve a level playing field and we owe it to them to make sure that others do not unfairly circumvent our fair trade practices. Syracuse has a proud history of candle production but attempts by importers to undercut our producers have put that tradition at risk. I am pleased that the Department of Commerce heeded our call to take action against these unfair practices and recognized the importance of this decision to local producers, especially here in Syracuse. We will continue to make the case on behalf of Syracuse candle-makers as the Commerce Department considers its final determination." Free trade proponents at the libertarian Cato Institute made a connection to Frédéric Bastiat's "Candlemakers' Petition", a satire of protectionism.
In her book Hard Choices, Clinton stated that there were regulatory hurdles for businesses to create jobs in America and India, saying, “There were still too many barriers and restrictions, but American companies were slowly gaining access to Indian markets, creating jobs and opportunities for people in both countries.”
In a speech at a campaign event for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley on October 24, 2014, Clinton addressed the minimum wage and its effects on job creation by saying,"[d]on’t let anyone tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs – they always say that. I’ve been through this. My husband gave workers a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what, millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were secure". She followed that statement by saying "[a]nd don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly."
Subprime mortgage crisis relief
On December 5, 2007, Clinton unveiled her plan to ameliorate the effects of the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis on homeowners. She called for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, in order that lenders and mortgage servicers have sufficient time to get through paperwork complications and an expected high volume of troubled borrowers without having to shut out the lights, and a five-year freeze on the interest rates of adjustable rate mortgages, so that borrowers would not get slammed by expected 30, 40 or more percent increases in monthly payments due to the effects of the crisis and of unwise initial borrowing decisions.
In a speech to Harvard Medical School on June 4, 1998, Clinton outlined general support for federal universal affordable health care for Americans. "There are 41 million people without health insurance. Who will take care of these people in the future? How will we pay for their care? How will we pay for the extra costs that come when someone is not treated for a chronic disease or turned away from the emergency room? The job of health care reform cannot be done when access to care depends on skin color or the neighborhood they live in or the amount of money in their wallet. Let's continue to work toward universal affordable, quality health care."
Diane Blair, a political science professor who died in 2000, left notes of a dinner conversation with Clinton in 1993. Blair wrote that Clinton "thinks managed competition a crock; single-payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare." Clinton has said that she has never supported single payer health care.
Clinton later said that health care coverage improvements need to be made incrementally, in contrast to the more ambitious, wide-ranging plan that failed in 1993 to 1994.
In September 2007, as part of her presidential campaign, Clinton announced her new health system reform proposal American Health Choices Plan, which would require that individuals have health care coverage from some source. Clinton explained that the coverage options available would be enrollment in private insurance plans via an "individual mandate" and an "employer mandate" requiring employers to provide health care benefits, or enrollment in a public program via an expanded version of Medicare or federal employee health plans.
The projected cost of the plan is $110 billion annually and will require all employers to cover their employees' health insurance or contribute to the costs of their employees' health insurance coverage; tax credits will be provided to companies with fewer than 25 employees to help cover costs. In order to pay for the program's estimated $110 billion per year cost, Clinton favors repealing portions of the Bush tax cuts, effectively increasing some taxes to the higher rates which existed in 2000.
In 2007 Clinton spoke in favor of public financing of some campaigns: "I believe we have to move, eventually in our country, toward a system of public financing that really works for candidates running for federal office. I will support that as president." Ironically, she said this at the same time that her own prodigious fundraising allowed her to opt out of the public financing scheme for presidential elections, the first campaign in 30 years to completely do so. Clinton later reiterated her support for public financing of elections in the wake of the Norman Hsu affair.
Workers' rights, labor unions, and Wal-Mart
In 2006, Clinton praised a Maryland law that required Wal-Mart to contribute to certain levels of health insurance for its employees. When asked what she had done to help Wal-Mart employees obtain better benefits when she served on its board while First Lady of Arkansas, she answered, "Well, you know, I, that was a long time ago ... have to remember..." and added, "obviously I believe every company should [contribute to benefit plans]."
The Clintons were stockholders in Wal-Mart at the time she was a board member, and Rose Law Firm, where Clinton was a partner had Wal-Mart as a client. While a board member, Clinton had been silent about the company's infamously anti-labor union practices, although she pushed successfully for the chain to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices and had pushed largely unsuccessfully for more women to be added to the company's management.
A January 31, 2008 article from ABC News states, "An ABC News analysis of the videotapes of at least four stockholder meetings where Clinton appeared shows she never once rose to defend the role of American labor unions."
Social Security tax cap
Hillary Clinton supports retaining the Social Security tax cap. The tax cap makes income in excess of $102,000 untaxable. The result is that the top 6% of income earners don't pay the social security tax on income above $117,000. Hillary Clinton called repealing the Social Security tax cap a "tax increase on the middle class."
Arab-Israeli conflict, relations with Israel
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On July 18, 2006, Clinton spoke at a pro-Israel rally in New York in front of the United Nations. She supported Israel's efforts in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict: "We are here to show solidarity and support for Israel. We will stand with Israel, because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones."
On November 13, 2005, Clinton said that she supports the creation of the West Bank barrier, stating: "This is not against the Palestinian people. This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism." She has also requested that Palestinian leaders "change all textbooks in all grades" from the current ones, which are "hate-filled, violent and radical."
As a senator and throughout her career, Clinton had supported a law that requires identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In September 2011, as Secretary of State, she filed a brief with the US Supreme Court opposing "any American action, even symbolically, toward recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" because of the influence it might have on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
During an interview while the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict was ongoing, Clinton said that Hamas had intentionally provoked Israel by firing rockets into that country. In regard to whether Israel's response against Hamas had been proportionate, she said, "I'm not a military planner, but Hamas puts its missiles – its rockets – in civilian areas. Part of it is that Gaza's pretty small and it's very densely populated. They put their command and control of Hamas military leaders in those civilian areas. Israel, I know, has sent warnings and tried to get people to move, but in any kind of conflict there are going to be civilian casualties, and we need to try to get to a cease-fire as soon as possible."
On April 5, 2006 speaking to the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Clinton said her work for her New York constituents could fall afoul of the bill since some of her constituents are illegal immigrants. "I realize I would be a criminal, too. My staff would be criminal. We help people with all kinds of problems."
On March 8, 2006, she strongly criticized H.R. 4437, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005 and sent to the Senate, which would impose harsher penalties for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally. Clinton called the measure "a rebuke to what America stands for" and said it would be "an unworkable scheme to try to deport 11 million people, which you have to have a police state to try to do." She believed the solution to the illegal immigration problem was to make "a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen."
In May and June 2007, Clinton cast preliminary votes (in terms of amendments and cloture) in support of the high-profile, compromise-based but very controversial, comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007. When the bill was again brought forward, she continued to vote in favor of cloture motions to consider it. In October 2007, Clinton voted in favor of a small subset of the previous bill, the DREAM Act.
At a debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia on October 30, 2007, Clinton committed to support of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Two minutes later, she recanted the position and blamed the Bush administration for not passing immigration reform. The following day, she clarified her position in a prepared statement by coming out in support of Spitzer's bill. Two weeks later, after Spitzer abandoned the plan due to widespread opposition, Clinton reversed her position on the issue once again, stating: "I support Governor Spitzer's decision today to withdraw his proposal. As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system." At a University of Nevada, Las Vegas debate on November 16, when asked again if she supported granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, she gave a one-word answer: "No."
On March 27, 2008 Clinton again vowed to block the bill. Speaking to a New York group of open-border advocates, she said: "[The bill] is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself."
On May 5, 2015, Clinton stated that allowing Illegal Immigrants to have a path to citizenship "Is at its heart a family issue."
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Hillary Clinton describes Iran as a long-term strategic challenge to the United States, its NATO allies, and Israel. She accuses Iran of state-sponsored terrorism and using its surrogates to supply explosives that kill U.S. troops in Iraq. She criticized the Bush administration for refusing to talk to Iran about its nuclear program; meanwhile, Iran has allegedly enhanced its nuclear-enrichment capabilities.
Clinton says she will attempt to ease tensions with countries like Iran and Syria through direct engagement and Clinton has said that if elected, she would "immediately open a diplomatic track" with Iran. She has accused Iran in several cases such as its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of terrorism. She has also asked for supporting Middle East peace and playing a constructive role in stabilizing Iraq, and declared the United States should be prepared to offer Iran a carefully calibrated package of incentives. She believes this will signal to the Iranian people that the U.S. government's quarrel is not with them but with the Iranian government and show the world that the United States is prepared to pursue every diplomatic option.
Nonetheless, Clinton supports UN sanctions on Iran, and has said that Iran should not be allowed possession of a nuclear weapon. She has clarified at a February 2007 dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that "no option can be taken off the table", including diplomatic and economic in addition to the threat and use of military force, when dealing with the country. She has said in a speech at Princeton that a nuclear Iran would be a threat to Israel. In the Princeton speech, Clinton said the US "cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran – that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons."
On September 26, 2007, Clinton voted for a symbolic non-binding amendment to label the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution as a "foreign terrorist organization," and to use diplomatic economic, intelligence economic, and U.S. military "instruments" to enforce U.S. policy against Iran and "its proxies" within Iraq. Thus Clinton came under fire from some of her Democratic counterparts for her vote. Clinton insisted that she continues to support vigorous diplomacy with Iran and defended her vote against the Revolutionary Guard, saying Iranian arms shipments to Iraq have slowed down since the Senate resolution passed. But her Democratic opponents criticized her for contributing to what they said was Bush administration saber rattling on Iran.
In October 2007, Clinton cosponsored a bill prohibiting the use of funds for military action in Iran without "explicit Congressional authorization." That bill has not yet been voted on.
Criticism of her Iran stance intensified after the December 3, 2007 release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which said Iran appeared to have halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.
On April 22, 2008, Clinton threatened Iran with nuclear annihilation if they attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. On ABC News Good Morning America, she said, "If Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel what would our response be? I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. That's what we will do. There is no safe haven." She continued, "Whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they may foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." Iran complained to the UN about her comments.
Despite her criticism of Obama's support for negations with Iran regarding its nuclear program during her 2008 election campaign, Clinton helped arrange secret talks with the nation in 2012 and in 2013, after resigning as Secretary of State, stated that negotiations were the most likely way for the US to influence the country's nuclear development.
On April 2, 2015, Clinton confirmed her support for an agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program, calling it "an important step" in controlling the nation's security.
On October 11, 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, commonly known as the Iraq War Resolution, to give President Bush authority for the Iraq War.
By February 2007, Clinton made a point of refusing to admit that her October 2002 Iraq War Resolution vote was a mistake, or to apologize for it, as anti-war Democrats demanded. "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from," Clinton told an audience in Dover, New Hampshire.
In the second Democratic debate of the 2008 presidential race, Clinton said that she voted for the resolution under the impression that Bush would allow more time for UN inspectors to find proof of weapons of mass destruction before proceeding. Reporter Carl Bernstein and others have questioned why Clinton would have voted against the Levin Amendment, which would have required President Bush to allow more time to UN weapons inspectors and also would have required a separate Congressional authorization to allow a unilateral invasion of Iraq, if her vote was simply a vote for strong diplomacy.
During an April 20, 2004 interview on Larry King Live, Clinton was asked about her October 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.
Obviously, I've thought about that a lot in the months since. No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade.... The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared.
But, she said, the Bush Administration "really believed it. They really thought they were right, but they didn't let enough sunlight into their thinking process to really have the kind of debate that needs to take place when a serious decision occurs like that."
In a November 29, 2005 letter to her constituents, Senator Clinton said, "There are no quick and easy solutions to the long and drawn out conflict [the Bush] Administration triggered ... I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended commitment without limits or end. Nor do I believe that we can or should pull out of Iraq immediately."
On June 8, 2006, Clinton said of the US airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: "I saw firsthand the terrible consequences of Zarqawi's terrorist network when Bill, Chelsea and I visited the hotel ballroom in Amman, Jordan last November where Zarqawi's followers had detonated a bomb at a wedding, killing and wounding innocent people. We owe our thanks to our men and women in uniform and others in Iraq who have been fighting Zarqawi and other insurgents and who are responsible for today's success."
On June 15, 2006, Clinton charged that President Bush "rushed to war" and "refused to let the UN inspectors conduct and complete their mission ... We need to be building alliances instead of isolation around the world ... There must be a plan that will begin to bring our troops home." But she also said, "I do not think it is a smart strategy either for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment which I think does not put enough pressure on the Iraqi government, nor do I think it is a smart policy to set a date certain."
Clinton opposed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and supported a February 2007 non-binding Senate resolution against it, which failed to gain cloture. On February 5, 2007, Clinton said: "Believe me, I understand the frustration and the outrage ... You have to have 60 votes to cap troops, to limit funding to do anything. If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will." On February 17, 2007, Hillary Clinton announced the Iraq Troop Protection and Reduction Act of 2007. This act would compel President Bush to begin relegating troops from Iraq within 90 days of remote passage, or, according to Clinton, Congress would have to dismantle their authorization for the war. The Act would also end the blank check to the Iraqi government and submit them to harsh consequences if boundaries are violated. Lastly, the Act would require the Secretary of Defense to verify the condition, in terms of supplies and in terms of their training, of all Iraqi troops before they are sent.
In March 2007 she voted in favor of a war spending bill that required President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within a certain deadline; it passed almost completely along party lines but was subsequently vetoed by President Bush.
In May 2007, Clinton was one of only 14 senators to vote against a compromise war funding bill that removed previously vetoed withdrawal deadlines but tied funding to progress benchmarks for the Iraqi government. She said, "I fully support our troops [but this measure] fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq."
While calling for ending the war in Iraq, Clinton's indicated in July 2007 that she advocates keeping a reduced number of U.S. troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, stating "we cannot lose sight of our very real strategic national interests in this region." In the speech, she posited redeploying U.S. forces to protect the Kurdish region in the north, to engage in targeted operations against al-Qaeda in Iraq, and to train and equip Iraqi forces. Clinton's position is similar to that of the Iraq Study Group in that she highlights the need for political reconciliation in Iraq, supports the withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades, and favors keeping a reduced number of troops to serve in training and support roles such as protection of the U.S. Embassy.
On August 22, 2007, Clinton credited the troop surge and related new tactics with helping to produce the Anbar Awakening in Al Anbar Governorate, but said that overall the increase in troops had not met stated goals: "The surge was designed to give the Iraqi government time to take steps to ensure a political solution. It has failed." Furthermore, Clinton, following the lead of Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin, called on the Iraqi Parliament to replace Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq with "a less divisive and more unifying figure," saying that Maliki had failed to make progress in bridging differences between the hostile factions within Iraq: "Iraqi leaders have not met their own political benchmarks to share power, modify the de-Baathification laws, pass an oil law, schedule provincial elections, and amend their constitution." (Four days later, Maliki responded angrily to the suggestion, saying, "There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin. This is severe interference in our domestic affairs. Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton are from the Democratic Party and they must demonstrate democracy. I ask them to come to their senses and to talk in a respectful way about Iraq.")
In an open letter to President Bush dated November 17, 2007, Clinton stated "The President must make it crystal clear that the United States will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq..." "They would damage U.S. interests in Iraq and the broader region, and I will continue to strongly oppose them."
By late November 2007, with still more evidence that the surge and other tactics and developments had led to a significant lessening of the civil violence in Iraq, Clinton acknowledged the successes but said that the underlying equation had not changed: "Our troops are the best in the world; if you increase their numbers they are going to make a difference. The fundamental point here is that the purpose of the surge was to create space for political reconciliation and that has not happened, and there is no indication that it is going to happen, or that the Iraqis will meet the political benchmarks. We need to stop refereeing their civil war and start getting out of it."
At the January 16, 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Clinton, along with Senators Barack Obama and John Edwards, maintained that they cannot guarantee the removal of all U.S. troops by the end of their first presidential term due to continuing support roles. All three pledged to begin the withdrawal of combat brigades within 60 days of taking office. Additionally, Clinton used the opportunity to ask Senator Obama to co-sponsor legislation to prevent President Bush from signing long-term agreements with the government of Iraq without the express consent of congress, stating: "So I've introduced legislation that clearly requires President Bush to come to the United States Congress. It is not enough, as he claims, to go to the Iraqi parliament, but to come to the United States Congress to get anything that he's trying to do, including permanent bases, numbers of troops, all the other commitments he's talking about as he's traveling in that region."
In 2000 Clinton said she favored continuing the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
In 2014, Clinton expressed her support for lifting the embargo on Cuba, describing it as "Castro's best friend."
On December 8, 2004, in a speech regarding the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004, Senator Clinton delivered remarks on her approach to homeland security. "[This] legislation calls for dramatic improvements in the security of our nation's transportation infrastructure, including aviation security, air cargo security, and port security. Through this legislation, the security of the Northern Border will also be improved, a goal I have worked toward since 2001. Among many key provisions, the legislation calls for an increase of at least 10,000 border patrol agents from Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010, many of whom will be dedicated specifically to our Northern Border. There will also be an increase of at least 4,000 full-time immigration and customs enforcement officers in the next 5 years.
Later in the speech, Clinton described her satisfaction with the way in which IRTPA tackles what she views as the root causes of terrorism by improving education around the world and establishing schools in Muslim countries that will replace the current madrassas.
I am also pleased that the legislation addresses the root causes of terrorism in a proactive manner. This is an issue that I have spent a good deal of time on in the past year because I believe so strongly that we are all more secure when children and adults around the world are taught math and science instead of hate. The bill we are voting on today includes authorization for an International Youth Opportunity Fund, which will provide resources to build schools in Muslim countries. The legislation also acknowledges that the U.S. has a vested interest in committing to a long-term, sustainable investment in education around the globe. Some of this language is modeled on legislation that I introduced in September, The Education for All Act of 2004, and I believe it takes us a small step towards eliminating madrassas and replacing them with schools that provide a real education to all children.
Humanitarian intervention abroad
As first lady, Clinton said, "I am very pleased that this president and administration have made democracy one of the centerpieces of our foreign policy." Hillary Clinton favored intervention in Haiti (1994), the Bosnian War (1995), as well as in the Kosovo War (1999). Before the Kosovo war, she phoned Bill Clinton from Africa. As she recalled later, "I urged him to bomb."
In a February 2005 speech at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, Clinton expressed regret that the international community had failed to effectively intervene in the 1990s during the Rwandan Genocide and early in the Bosnian War. She praised the United Nations and NATO interventions that did occur later in the Bosnian War (leading to the Dayton Agreement), Kosovo War, and East Timor. Regarding the ongoing large-scale killing in the Darfur conflict, she then advocated "at least a limited NATO role in logistics, communication and transportation in Darfur in support of the African Union."
During the July 2007 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate in South Carolina, Clinton was characterized by The Chicago Tribune as against U.S. military intervention. Asked again whether U.S. troops should be sent to Darfur, Clinton focused on "...sanctions, divestment and UN peacekeepers." When pressed with the question, "How about American troops on the ground?" she said, "American ground troops I don't think belong in Darfur at this time."
Security vs. human rights
On November 15, 2007, when asked "[is] national security more important than human rights?" Clinton responded, "I agree with that completely. The first obligation of the president of the United States is to protect and defend the United States of America. That doesn't mean that it is to the exclusion of other interests. And there's absolutely a connection between a democratic regime [in Pakistan] and heightened security for the United States."
On February 13, 2005, at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Senator Clinton outlined her support for a strong United Nations:
My first observation is simple but it must govern all that we do: The United Nations is an indispensable organization to all of us – despite its flaws and inefficiencies. This means quite simply, that everyone here today, and governments everywhere, must decide that our global interests are best served by strengthening the UN, by reforming it, by cleaning up its obvious bureaucratic and managerial shortcomings, and by improving its responsiveness to crises, from humanitarian to political. [...] At its founding in San Francisco sixty years ago, fifty members signed the Charter. Today, the UN has 191 members, and, quite frankly, many of them sometimes act against the interests of a stronger UN, whether consciously or not, with alarming regularity. Since the UN is not, in the final analysis, an independent hierarchical organization, like for example a sports team or a corporation, but no more – or less – than a collection of its members, the UN becomes progressively weakened by such action. Ironically, 'the UN' – an abstraction that everyone from journalists to those of us in this room use in common discussions – is often blamed for the actions (or inactions) of its members.
Clinton has co-sponsored a Senate resolution "expressing the sense of the Senate on the importance of membership of the United States on the United Nations Human Rights Commission."
Clinton has been a co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution since 2002, and has twice written to President Bush calling on him to refer to the Armenian Genocide in his annual commemorative statement. "Our common morality and our nation's credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States", she announced on January 24, 2008.
Syria, combating ISIS
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Russia and Ukraine
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Civil liberties and democracy
Anti-terrorism and domestic surveillance
Clinton voted for the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2001 when it was first enacted. In December 2005, when a political battle ensued over its renewal, Clinton supported a general filibuster against it, on the grounds that the renewal legislation did not appropriate enough money to New York for anti-terrorism efforts. During the renewal debate she also worked to address some of the civil liberties concerns with it. She then voted in favor of a compromise renewed act in March 2006 that passed by an 89–10 margin.
Regarding the December 2005 NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, Clinton stated that she was "troubled" by President Bush's 2002 actions. In a statement, she said: "The balance between the urgent goal of combating terrorism and the safeguarding of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms is not always an easy one to draw. However, they are not incompatible, and unbridled and unchecked executive power is not the answer."
Clinton has not signed the American Freedom Agenda's pledge to end the use of military commissions to prosecute war crimes, restore habeas corpus, end torture of captives, end domestic wiretapping without a warrant, and end presidential signing statements.
Clinton spoke against and voted no on the Military Commissions Act, which changed pre-existing law to explicitly forbid the invocation of the Geneva Conventions when executing the writ of habeas corpus or in other civil actions. As of June 23, 2007, Clinton has not said whether she supports the Senate bill 576, which would repeal portions of the Military Commissions Act. She has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act in 2007.
During a 1999 press conference at the White House, First Lady Hillary Clinton stated, "And since the crime bill was enacted, 19 of the deadliest assault weapons are harder to find on our streets. We will never know how many tragedies we've avoided because of these efforts."
In the 1999 Proposition B in Missouri campaign, Robin Carnahan's Safe Schools and Workplaces Committee, on the weekend prior to voting day, coordinated a taped phone message from Hillary Clinton that automatically dialed 75,000 homes statewide with the message, "Just too dangerous for Missouri families."
In a 2014 interview with CNN Clinton expressed support for reinstating the federal assault weapons ban, and made the following statement in response to a question on gun control. "I'm well aware that this is a hot political subject. And again, I will speak out no matter what role I find myself in. But I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation. We cannot let a minority of people -- and that's what it is, it is a minority of people -- hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."
Hillary Clinton was taught to shoot and hunt by her father. Clarifying her position on gun rights, she said "It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are." She made gun rights a part of her 2008 Presidential campaign, despite her previous attempts to introduce strict gun-control laws at a federal level.
In November 2000, Clinton called for a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, replacing it with a national popular vote, saying "we are a very different country than we were 200 years ago.... I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people."
Clinton's advisors have said that she believes that the "president usually deserves the benefit of the doubt from Congress on matters of executive authority". In 2003, Clinton stated that she was "a strong believer in executive authority," wishing that when her husband was president, Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority.
Reacting to whistleblower site WikiLeaks and the 2010 U.S. diplomatic cables release, Hillary Clinton expressed her condemnation of any disclosure that puts lives at risk and threatens national security.
At an April 2008 candidates’ forum on faith and compassion, Clinton said that “the incredible demands that God places on us, and that the prophets ask of us, and that Christ called us to respond to on behalf of the poor are unavoidable.”
As president, Clinton said that she would appoint a “cabinet-level poverty czar” focused to “ending poverty as we know it.” In the Senate, Clinton voted for an increase in the federal minimum wage. She was criticized by liberal groups for supporting an increase in the work requirement for welfare.
Abortion and birth control
In a speech on January 24, 2005, to the New York State Family Planning Providers, Senator Clinton outlined her stance on abortion. "When I spoke to the conference on women in Beijing in 1995 – ten years ago this year – I spoke out against any government interfering with the reproductive rights and decisions of women and families. So we have a lot of experience from around the world that is a cautionary tale about what happens when a government substitutes its opinion for an individual's. There is no reason why government cannot do more to educate and inform and provide assistance so that the choice guaranteed under our constitution either does not ever have to be exercised or only in very rare circumstances." She emphasized that, "I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women." She praised the role of moral values in preventing unwanted pregnancies while supporting continued research into the most effective means of preventing these pregnancies. "Research shows that the primary reason that teenage girls abstain is because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this – and support programs that reinforce the idea that abstinence at a young age is not just the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do. But we should also recognize what works and what doesn't work, and to be fair, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs. I don't think this debate should be about ideology, it should be about facts and evidence."
A July 13, 2005 New York Times article titled "The Evolution of Hillary Clinton" characterizes Clinton as seeking to find middle ground between voters with various views on the criminalization of abortion. In April 2007 Clinton expressed dismay at the Supreme Court's Gonzales v. Carhart ruling that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Clinton opposed the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, stating, “It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom, which means the corporation’s employers can impose their religious beliefs on their employees, and, of course, denying women the right to contraceptives as part of a health care plan is exactly that. I find it deeply disturbing that we are going in that direction.”
In 2013, she launched a partnership between the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to gather and study data on the progress of women and girls around the world since the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. This is called "No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project.”
In 2014 Clinton defined being a "feminist" as favoring equal rights for women, saying, "I don't see anything controversial about that at all." She also told those who think of feminism as outdated, "I don't think you've lived long enough." That year she also stated that “[W]omen and girls … [are] central to our foreign policy,” adding that nations that support women are more stable and “less likely to breed extremism.”
Clinton also created the office of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
She wants the United States to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Clinton supports faith-based programs that address social issues and provide social services, saying that "there is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles."
From childhood to retirement
In September 2007 Clinton worked on a concept of starting a workable savings plan for everyone. Although some of her casual brainstorming about providing every 18 year-old with a small savings grant was misconstrued, a formal policy emerged. The following is a brief summary of an October 9, 2007 press release:
Hillary's American Retirements Account plan will:
- Offer matching tax cuts of up to $500 and $1000 to help middle class and working families save
- Establish new "American Retirement Accounts" that allow families to save for retirement in a way that is easy, secure and portable
- Encourage all employers to allow no-hassle, direct deposit enrollment into American Retirement Accounts
- Reduce disincentives to saving by removing asset-tests for moderate income families to contribute to American Retirement Accounts
- Freeze the estate tax at 2009 levels to pay for matching tax cuts for middle-class savings
Church and state
In a 2005 speech, Clinton said that religious political officials should be able to "live out their faith in the public square."
Speaking at an event for candidates on faith and compassion in April 2008, Clinton said that "we want religion to be in the public square. If you are a person of faith, you have a right and even an obligation to speak from that wellspring of your faith.”
In 2000, during a Senate debate in Manhattan, Clinton voiced her support for drug courts to address drug abuse problems when she stated, "We need more treatment [for drug addicts]. It is unfair to urge people to get rid of their addiction and not have the treatment facilities when people finally make up their minds to get treatment."
In 1994, during a National Center For Women and Policing conference, Clinton voiced her support for three strikes laws when she stated "We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. The three strikes and you're out for violent offenders has to be part of the plan."
Clinton supports the death penalty, and made note of this support for it during her 2000 senate campaign. Senator Clinton sponsored the Innocence Protection Act, which requires DNA testing before administering federal executions.
Senator Clinton voted for President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and still supports it today according to her Senate page on education, while believing that President Bush has not provided enough funding, cutting the program's budget by $12 billion. In June 2007, with the Act up for renewal by Congress, she criticized the program, saying that its emphasis on testing has caused American children to narrow their studies and lose their creative edge.
Moreover, Clinton has proposed a $10 billion program for pre-K education that will address the 80% of children who are not enrolled in such programs. During the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary season (Dec 2007), a series of campaign ads were run as Holiday wishes to the public to promote this position.
Clinton is against education vouchers for use at private schools. On September 13, 2000, she said, " I do not support vouchers. And the reason I don't is because I don't think we can afford to siphon dollars away from our underfunded public schools." Outlining a different objection, on February 21, 2006, she said: "First family that comes and says 'I want to send my daughter to St. Peter's Roman Catholic School' and you say 'Great, wonderful school, here's your voucher.' Next parent that comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the school of the Church of the White Supremacist ...' The parent says, 'The way that I read Genesis, Cain was marked, therefore I believe in white supremacy. ... You gave it to a Catholic parent, you gave it to a Jewish parent, under the Constitution, you can't discriminate against me.' So what if the next parent comes and says, 'I want to send my child to the School of the Jihad'? ... I won't stand for it."
Clinton sent her own daughter, Chelsea, to public school from kindergarten through eighth grade when they lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, and then to private school in Washington, D.C. while they lived in the White House in the interests of keeping the first daughter's education, and life in general, at a low profile.
Clinton believes the scientific consensus on global warming is increasingly clear, and that global warming is caused by the release of greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere. In a speech to the AFL-CIO, she stated that she supports a green building fund and green-collar job training.
She supports the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and would not allow drilling there. She co-sponsored the Roadless Area Conservation Act.
In an interview during a March 5, 2014, event, Clinton declined to answer directly a question about the Keystone Pipeline, saying it was inappropriate for her to comment on a matter still under consideration by the Obama administration.
On December 7, 2003, in an interview with John Roberts of CBS News, then Senator Clinton said that she opposed allowing same-sex marriage while affirming her support for some form of civil unions for same-sex couples: "I think that the vast majority of Americans find [same-sex marriage] to be something they can't agree with. But I think most Americans are fair. And if they believe that people in committed relationships want to share their lives and, not only that, have the same rights that I do in my marriage, to decide who I want to inherit my property or visit me in a hospital, I think that most Americans would think that that's fair and that should be done."
In the same interview with Roberts, Clinton expressed opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, implicitly banning same-sex marriage. "I think that would be a terrible step backwards. It would be the first time we've ever amended the Constitution to deny rights to people. And I think that should be left to the states. You know, I find it hard to believe in one program [health care] I'm agreeing with Newt Gingrich, now I'm about to agree with Dick Cheney. But I think Vice President Cheney's position on gay marriage is the right one."
Following a 2006 New York State Appeals Court ruling that denied any state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Clinton reiterated her support for "full equality" under the civil unions mechanism.
In a March 2007 interview with ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper, Clinton said that the U.S. military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy was not working and that openly homosexual people should be allowed to serve: "We are being deprived of thousands of patriotic men and women who want to serve their country who are bringing skills into the armed services that we desperately need, like translation skills."
In the same interview, when asked if homosexuality is immoral, she declined to respond: "Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude." Later that day, Clinton released a statement regarding US General Peter Pace's comment that homosexual acts are immoral. She stated: "I disagree with what he said and do not share his view, plain and simple." She went further the following day, stating that "what I believe" is that "homosexuality is not immoral."
In August 2007, Clinton participated with other Democratic presidential primary candidates in a forum on LGBT issues hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and Logo. When responding to questions regarding same-sex marriage, Clinton said she would move to repeal the third section of the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. She also said that she remained opposed to same-sex marriage as a "personal position" and that she strongly believed that whether same-sex marriage should be legalized should be left to the individual states to decide. Clinton reiterated these positions several weeks later during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres shortly after an Iowa judge had ruled that a state prohibition against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under Iowa law.
Stem cell research
Clinton cosponsored the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which called for federal funding of stem cell research based on stem cell lines derived from discarded human embryos. The bill was vetoed by President Bush. She also voted for the 2007 bill with the same name that passed in Congress.
Hillary Clinton has said she would end medical marijuana raids against users in states in which the use is legal. Clinton is not supportive of the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes; she says she wants to "wait and see what the evidence is" before enacting a national policy.
Video game regulation
On March 29, 2005, Clinton called the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas a "major threat" to morality. She said, "Children are playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them. This is a silent epidemic of media desensitization that teaches kids it's OK to diss people because they are a woman, they're a different color or they're from a different place."
Clinton's main concern was over the sexual content in the Hot Coffee mod portion of the game. She said that if the game's manufacturer did not change the game's ESRB rating from M (Mature 17+) to AO (Adults Only 18+), she would introduce federal legislation to regulate video games. On July 20, 2005, the ESRB changed the rating and as a result, the game was removed from the shelves of Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and other stores.
Five months later, Clinton introduced the legislation anyway. On December 16, 2005, Clinton introduced the Family Entertainment Protection Act, S.2126, a bill that would prohibit the sale of sexual or violent video games to anybody under the age of 18.
Senator Clinton on May 18, 2006 released a statement outlining her intentions to be an original cosponsor of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, also known as the Dorgan and Snowe bill, as an amendment to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, that protects network neutrality in the United States. The bill aims to protect internet consumers and small businesses from Internet service providers charging large companies different amounts for Internet access than smaller customers. She says that the Internet must continue to use an "open and non-discriminatory framework" so that it may be used as a forum where "views are discussed and debated in an open forum without fear of censorship or reprisal".
"I support net neutrality... [The Internet] does not decide who can enter its marketplace and it does not pick which views can be heard and which ones silenced. It is the embodiment of the fundamental democratic principles upon which our nation has thrived for hundreds of years."
Clinton reiterated her support for net neutrality on January 9, 2007, when the Internet Freedom Preservation Act was reintroduced: "As evidenced by the diverse coalition of the consumer, business and citizen groups that span the political and ideological spectrum, and who all strongly support the concept of network neutrality, it is critical that Congress take steps to preserve the principles enshrined therein."
In a major speech on January 21, 2010, Clinton, speaking on behalf of the U.S., declared that "We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas."
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Don't let anybody tell you that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. They always say that. I've been through this. My husband gave working families a raise in the 1990s. I voted to raise the minimum wage and guess what? Millions of jobs were created or paid better and more families were more secure. That's what we want to see here, and that's what we want to see across the country. And don't let anybody tell you, that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know, that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried. That has failed. That has failed rather spectacularly. One of the things my husband says, when people say, what did you bring to Washington? He says, well I brought arithmetic. And part of it was he demonstrated why trickle down should be consigned to the trash bin of history. More tax cuts for the top and for companies that ship jobs over seas while taxpayers and voters are stuck paying the freight just doesn't add up. Now that kind of thinking might win you an award for outsourcing excellence, but Massachusetts can do better than that. Martha understands it. She knows you have to create jobs from everyone working together and taking the advantages of this great state and putting them to work.
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