Hillary Rodham Clinton as First Lady

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Hillary Rodham Clinton served as First Lady of the United States from 1993-2001.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said that of all the First Lady's who succeeded her, Hillary was her favorite.[1]

Hillary instructed her staff to try and keep her afternoon and early evening schedule as free as possible to spend time with Chelsea.[2]


The total costs for the week of inauguration ceremonies was $25 million.[3]

When Hillary arrived at the White House, she had the following exchange with outgoing First Lady Barbara Bush.[4]

Barbara Bush: "Avoid this crowd like the plague. And if [reporters] quote you, make damn sure they heard you."
Hillary Clinton: That's right, I know that feeling already."

Interaction with the DC culture

Carl Bernstein chronicled in his book, the Clinton's disdain for the politicized culture of DC. He wrote: "The first lady's social secretary was flabbergasted by Hillary's initial unwillingness to engage in the usual protocols of White House entertaining.[5]

Interaction with the media

Early in the Clinton administration, Hillary ordered that the corridor that gave reporters access to the West Wing be closed off -- which locked reporters in the White House cellar.[6]

On January 29, 1993, Hillary gave her first full interview since becoming First Lady -- a story published in the New York Times about the non-political duties of her role as First Lady.[7][8]


See also: First Lady Hillary Clinton's Health Care Proposals

Hillary served as the head of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, appointed in January 1993. Donna Shalala, a member of the Clinton transition team, cautioned against placing Hillary in such a public position that would potentially cloud the merits of the proposals simply because of who she was.[9]

White House Database

Clinton worked to build a $1.7 million "White House Data Base (WhoDB)" as early as 1995. This database was to contain the names of 355,000 donors that the Clinton administration could ask for help on its re-election bid. Despite the fact that this database was going to be given to the Democratic National Committee, and was meant to be used for re-election efforts, the database was in part built with taxpayer money. This was seen as a violation of the Hatch Act. In January 1994, White House counsel Cheryl Mills sent a letter to Marsha Scott -- the aide working on the database -- informing her that the WhoDB would be government property and could not be used for elections.[10]

In 1997, Clinton denied any knowledge of a database. However, a 1994 memo written by Scott was signed off on by Clinton. Congressman David McIntosh said "it troubles me deeply that Mrs. Clinton, who is a very bright lawyer, saw no problem with using taxpayer funds to aid the political operations of the DNC."[11]