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The Clinton Legacy

How Will History Judge the Soft-Power Secretary of State?

Overshadowed: Hillary Clinton, Washington, D.C., January 2007. Courtesy Reuters

In late January, only a few days after his second inauguration, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a surprisingly fond farewell to his old political rival Hillary Clinton. Sitting for a joint interview with the outgoing secretary of state on 60 Minutes, Obama lauded their “great collaboration.” He continued: “I just wanted to have a chance to publicly say thank you, because I think Hillary will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.”

The president had reason to be grateful. His Lincolnesque effort to create a team of rivals had paid off, thanks largely to Clinton’s own efforts at reconciliation. During her four years in office, Clinton, displaying impressive humility and self-discipline for an ambitious politician, managed to put one of the fiercest presidential primary battles in U.S. history behind her. Once the runaway favorite to win her party’s nomination, Clinton transformed

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