Hillary Rodham Clinton made her debut as a possible 2016 presidential candidate Tuesday night at an event supporting the empowerment of women, a subject she first broached in a historical 1993 speech in China and kept at the forefront of her diplomatic missions as secretary of state.
“When I became secretary of state, I was determined to weave this perspective into the fabric of American foreign policy,” Clinton said in a speech at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, recalling when she appointed the first ambassador for women's rights and directed the diplomatic corps to focus on gender issues.
“We did put women on the agenda and made it a centerpiece of all that we did.”
Her appearance at the Kennedy Center event in Washington, D.C. marked her first public speaking engagement since leaving office earlier this year, according to The New York Times.
The Times also reported that she spoke just hours after a super PAC launched a website dubbed ReadyforHillary.com to collect contributions and support a potential run for the presidency, the Times reported.
The former secretary of state, senator, first lady, and 2008 presidential candidate has not yet announced her plans for public life and she made no mention Tuesday night of political ambitions other than her long and continued support for women's rights worldwide. In fact, Clinton's role at the awards event was to present a tribute to Melanne Verveer, who was her chief of staff while she was first lady. Most recently, Verveer served as ambassador at large for global women's events.
But politics was hardly avoidable at the event, given the fact that many in the loud and appreciative audience urged her to make another run at becoming the first woman president of the United States.
Politics was also present in the form of Vice President Joe Biden, who also spoke. Considered a possible Clinton rival for the Democratic Party nomination in 2016, the vice president complimented his former Obama administration colleague, saying, “There’s no woman like Hillary Clinton. That’s a fact.”
According to the Times, he also praised her “magnificent work as secretary of state” to help ensure that “women’s issues cannot be set aside but instead must be the central project of what we’re about.”
Earlier, Clinton had offered her own compliments to Biden, praising him for pushing the Violence Against Women Act recently passed by Congress.
“Vice President Biden and I have worked together on so many important issues and one that is particularly close to his heart is the fight against domestic violence," she said.
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