Hillary Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State on Friday, returning to private life after 31 years in the public eye. In those three decades, Clinton has gone from one of the country’s most divisive political figures to one of its most beloved. As First Lady of Arkansas — and later the United States — and then as a U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate, Clinton navigated policy battles, scandal, and five campaigns, breaking down gender barriers at each step. She endured our ridicule over her fashion choices and our judgement over her marriage, facing down her critics with humour and steely resolve.
The country finally came around to Clinton during her four years as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. She exits Foggy Bottom today with sky-high approval ratings and a cadre of loyal fans who are ready to spring into action should she decide to run for president again in 2016.
But even if Clinton never returns to politics, her legacy is already established as the most bad-arse chick in Washington.
Hillary Rodham started getting presidential buzz back in 1969, when she delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College.
HRC kills it during a joint '60 Minutes' interview to deny Bill Clinton's affair with Gennifer Flowers
Never content with traditional First Lady roles, Clinton jumped into the policy fray with a failed attempt at healthcare reform. Here she is with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
Clinton enjoys a moment of solace after falling behind on a run with her husband and Olympic hurdler Edwin Moses.
Hillary rocks another fly outfit with her daughter Chelsea at the opening ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway.
The '90s weren't all leis and whitewater rafting though. Here Hillary Clinton accompanies the president to a memorial for the victims of the 1996 Oklahoma City bombing.
The Clintons weathered their biggest scandal in August 1998, famously holding hands with Chelsea the day after the president admitted he had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
In 2000, Clinton launched her first campaign as a candidate, running for Senate in New York. Here she is bowling at a fundraiser in the Port Authority bus terminal.
Clinton has some very famous friends. Here she is greeting Elton John in 2002 before his Senate testimony on the AIDS epidemic.
And took the lead for the administration in the Middle East. Here she is chatting with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in March 2012.
She paid an emotional visit to Burmese opposition leader and Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in December 2011, becoming the first senior U.S. official to travel to Myanmar in over 50 years.
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