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Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jokes with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta after she was presented the Department of Defense's highest award for public service at the Pentagon on Feb. 14, in Arlington, Va.
- The making of Hillary Clinton: 15 moments that define her public life
- Hillary Clinton most popular U.S. politician, poll shows
Hillary Clinton's life has taken her from first lady to senator to secretary of state.
Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
On her last day as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton bids farewell to staff members in the lobby of the State Department in Washington DC, on Feb. 1, 2013.
By Michael O'Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally resigned her post at the State Department on Friday, saying she is "confident about the direction that we have set."
In remarks at the diplomatic agency's Foggy Bottom headquarters, Clinton waxed about the familiar atmosphere at the State Department during her four years as secretary, an environment she said would extend to incoming Secretary John Kerry.
"Next week, I would expect that all of you will be as focused and dedicated for Secretary Kerry as you have been for me, and that you will continue to serve Presisdent Obama and our nation with the same level of professionalism and commitment that I have seen firsthand," she told throngs of department staff gathered for her remarks. Continue Reading...
Perhaps no person in America better reflects the possibility and peril of a life lived in the public eye than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
From lashing out at a “vast right-wing conspiracy” when news of her husband’s infidelity emerged to finding her “own voice” after a teary answer to a voter’s question on the campaign trail, Clinton has never failed to confound her critics and inspire her fans.
As Clinton’s final day at the State Department closes the latest chapter of her public life, here is a look at 15 key moments -- from the 1960s through today.
First big speech: Hillary Diane Rodham gives the commencement address at Wellesley College in Massachusetts in May 1969. It establishes her not just as respected but as outspoken: She criticizes a previous speaker, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, and suggests that he is out of touch with the action her generation craves. Weeks later, she is featured in Life magazine as a shining example of the Class of ’69.
William J. Clinton Presidential Library
Meeting her match: At Yale Law School, Hillary Rodham meets Bill Clinton. She would write later that the attraction was immediate, and that they shared an intellectual bond that never broke: "Bill Clinton and I started a conversation in the spring of 1971," she wrote in the memoir, "and more than 30 years later, we're still talking."
‘If that's not enough ... don’t vote for him': Bill and Hillary Clinton go on “60 Minutes” in January 1992, in an interview that airs immediately after the Super Bowl, to deny that he had had a 12-year affair with an Arkansas state employee, Gennifer Flowers. In the interview, Hillary Clinton says: “You know, I'm not sitting here — some little woman standin’ by my man like Tammy Wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him, and I respect him, and I honor what he's been through and what we've been through together. And you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him.” The couple are pictured with “60 Minutes” executive producer Don Hewitt.
Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images
Health-care advocate: As first lady, Hillary Clinton leads a presidential effort in 1993 and 1994 to reform health care, a policy role unprecedented for a first lady. The plan ultimately aims for universal coverage by requiring employers to provide health care. But some Republicans, and notably the insurance industry, attack the plan as hopelessly bogged down in bureaucracy, and it dies in Congress. The defeat is a huge setback for a woman who aspired to be a non-traditional first lady but who opponents feared had designs on being a co-president.
Doug Mills / AP
Making her mark: In September 1995, Clinton goes to a U.N. conference in Beijing and delivers a forceful critique of abuse of women in China, using language that would be considered strong for any American leader but particularly out of the ordinary for a first lady. She declares: “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”
Conspiracy theory: In January 1998, just after allegations surface of a presidential affair with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton goes on TODAY and dismisses the matter as a "feeding frenzy." She stresses that the president has denied the suggestions of an affair. She goes on to tell Matt Lauer: “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
Luke Frazza / AFP - Getty Images
Between the two of them: The Clintons, with daughter Chelsea famously clutching their hands, leave the White House for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in August 1998. A day earlier, the president had admitted on national television that he had had an improper relationship with former White House interview Monica Lewinsky. Hillary Clinton later writes of this period in her memoir: “Although I was heartbroken and disappointed with Bill, my long hours alone made me admit to myself that I loved him. What I still didn't know was whether our marriage could or should last.”
Richard Drew / AFP - Getty Images
Engaging debate: Clinton makes a point during a September 2000 debate with Rep. Rick Lazio for a Senate seat from New York. During the same debate, Lazio produces a pledge against “soft money” political contributions and walks over to Clinton’s lectern, encouraging her to “sign it right now.” Some Clinton supporters later say the move was bullying. Clinton wins with 55 percent of the vote, and in 2006 trounces another Republican opponent with 67 percent. She generally wins praise as a hard worker in the Senate, and after re-election quickly turns her attention to a bid for the presidency.
Jim Cole / AP
Finding her voice: Clinton exults after defeating Sen. Barack Obama in the New Hampshire primary in January 2008, resuscitating her campaign after a bruising defeat in Iowa days earlier. Clinton, asked by a New Hampshire voter how she deals with the stress of campaigning, had choked up and said: “You know, I have so many opportunities from this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards.” In her victory speech, Clinton says she “found my own voice.”
Elise Amendola / AP
The laugh: Nearing the end of her primary campaign, Clinton enjoys a drink and some laughs with reporters on her campaign plane after a stop in South Dakota in May 2008. Her laugh — with a boisterous crescendo that borders on a cackle — becomes so famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) that it inspires a parody by Amy Poehler on “Saturday Night Live.”
Mark Wilson / Getty Images
End of a long battle: Clinton waves to supporters at the National Building Museum in Washington in June 2008 after endorsing Obama for president — the end of their historic prizefight of a Democratic primary campaign. In a reference to her popular-vote count in the Democratic race, she says: “Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it. And the light is shining through like never before, filling us all with the hope and the sure knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.”
Pool / Reuters
Globetrotter: Clinton, as secretary of state for Obama's first term, visits the historic Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, in October 2009. She would say later that it was “hard to believe” that no one in the Pakistani government knew where al-Qaida leaders were hiding. By the end of her tenure as secretary, Clinton had visited 112 countries, logged 956,000 miles and spent the equivalent of 87 days traveling, according to an official State Department count.
Pete Souza / The White House
Finding Osama bin Laden: Clinton, with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of the president’s national security team, waits out a tense moment just off the White House Situation Room during the May 2011 raid that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Asked later why she had her hand over her mouth, Clinton would say: “Those were 38 of the most intense minutes. I have no idea what any of us were looking at that particular millisecond when the picture was taken. I am somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs. So it may have no great meaning whatsoever.”
© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters / REUTERS
Hillz, the meme: Her popularity as secretary of state spills over to the Internet when, in October 2011, she is photographed checking a mobile device and wearing sunglasses aboard a military C-17 plane bound from Malta for Libya. The shot inspires a Tumblr site, Texts from Hillary Clinton, in which the "secretary" sends snarky texts to the likes of Ryan Gosling, Mark Zuckerberg ... and Mitt Romney.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
‘Prevent it from ever happening again’: Clinton testifies to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Clinton is pressed by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., about why the administration had not learned quickly that the attack was a planned assault, not the spontaneous result of a protest. She answers: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”
Jim Watson / Pool via Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, is greeted on her arrival at Rarotonga International Airport in Rarotonga, the most populous island of the Cook Islands, on August 30, 2012.
Hillary Clinton was greeted by Cook Islanders in straw grass skirts and headdresses dancing, chanting and playing drums, NBC News' Catherine Chomiak reports. By the end of the arrival ceremony garlands were piled high around the Secretary of State's neck, some of them so long they almost touched the ground.
Read more about Clinton's visit to the South Pacific island chain that is home to just 10,000 people in this report from The Associated Press: Tiny Cook Islands a squeeze for Hillary Clinton.
Brendan Smialowski / Pool via AP
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, center, and Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba shake hands before their trilateral meeting at the ASEAN Regional forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on July 12.
AFP - Getty Images
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoys a relaxing momment at Cafe Havana in Cartagena, Colombia, on April 15.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton looks up at the new global cultural ambassador and former NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jan. 18. Abdul-Jabbar will travel the world to engage a generation of young people to help promote diplomacy.
NEW YORK -- The State Department appointed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a global cultural ambassador on Wednesday.
Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for education and cultural affairs, says Abdul-Jabbar will travel the world to engage a generation of young people to help promote diplomacy.
Prior to becoming an ambassador, Abdul-Jabbar was better known for being the National Basketball Association's all-time scoring leader, with 38,387 points during his 20-year career.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
A photo of the Secretary of State with one of the NBA's champs is getting a lot of attention. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
Saul Loeb / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
Pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold hands as they speak after meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon, Myanmar, on Dec. 2, 2011.
msnbc.com news services report:
Hillary Clinton held hands with Aung San Suu Kyi on the porch of the Nobel Peace
Prizelaureate's lakeside home — where she spent much of the past two decades under house arrest — and thanked her for her "steadfast and very clear leadership."
After the meeting, they embraced and seemed visibly moved by their encounter.
"You have been an inspiration but I know that you feel you are standing for all the people of your country who deserve the same rights and freedoms as people everywhere," Clinton told Suu Kyi. Read the full story.
Previously on PhotoBlog:
The Secretary of State had a private dinner with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi -- both wore white. During her meeting with President Thein Sein, the interpreters kept a low profile. She went barefoot for tour of Shwedagon Pagoda and poured water over a Buddist statue. Full story.
Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi over dinner at the U.S. Chief of Mission Residence in Rangoon, Myanmar, Dec. 1. Clinton is traveling to the country on a two-day visit, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State in more than 50 years.
Saul Loeb / Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Myanmar's President Thein Sein at the President's Office in Naypyitaw Dec. 1, 2011. Clinton prepared for her first substantive talks with Myanmar's new leaders on Thursday, a meeting U.S. officials hope will embolden reformers in the reclusive country where entrenched military interests still loom large.
Pool via Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tours the Shwedegon Pagoda in Yangon, Dec. 1. Clinton offered Myanmar the first rewards for reform on Thursday, saying the United States would back more aid for the reclusive country and consider returning an ambassador after an absence of some two decades.
Saul Loeb / Pool via AP
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pours water over a Buddhist statue, as she tours the Shwedegon Pagoda, a Buddhist temple founded between the 6th and 10th centuries AD, in Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, Dec. 1.
Video report below:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a historic trip to Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country in the midst of dramatic change after years of isolation. NBC's Ian Williams reports.
Kevin Lamarque / AFP - Getty Images
Security, staff and members of the press stand by the motorcade vehicles for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit with Sultan Qaboos bin Said at the sultan's palace in Muscat, Oman, on October 19. Clinton arrived in Oman for talks with Sultan Qaboos about his reform efforts and to share US concerns over neighboring Iran, a US official said.
Kevin Lamarque / AFP - Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets National Transitional Council officials at the steps of her C-17 military airplane upon her arrival in Tripoli, Libya on Oct. 8 to hold talks with Libya's new regime officials.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to Libya this morning.
U.S. officials said Clinton's visit was aimed at cementing a partnership with the new government and helping it steer toward democracy. Clinton would encourage the National Transitional Council to fulfill pledges to move swiftly toward elections.
"The important thing is to be able to show the Libyan people that there is momentum," a senior administration official traveling with Clinton said. Continue reading...
Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger prepare to leave after participating in "Conversations on Diplomacy, Moderated by Charlie Rose, at the Department of State in Washington, DC, on April 20.
It's nice to see the respect and warmth between Dr. Kissinger and Secretary Clinton. We don't see too much of that in Washington these days.