Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that the nation must "reverse this tide of inequality that is eating away at the social fabric of our country."
Clinton, 65, who accepted an award at the Yale Law School, from where she graduated 40 years ago, used the occasion to highlight how poverty is affecting more Americans than ever before.
The former first lady's speech gave no hints to her political future, although Robert Post, the dean of the Ivy League university's Law School, who introduced her, said many pundits were predicting she would "add one last elusive line to her resume," the News-Times of Danbury, Conn. reported.
Clinton noted that in New Haven, the home of Yale, 25 percent of the city's residents and 38 percent of children live in poverty.
"Connecticut is one of our wealthiest states and more than half the children in its capital live in poverty," Clinton said, referring to Hartford.
Clinton addressed how the federal government shutdown, now in its fifth day, was affecting low-income families.
"Because of the government shutdown, nearly 9 million women and children will soon be unable to buy healthy food and baby formula," she said.
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Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, was among the 2,700 people present as she received the Yale Law School Association Award of Merit. He has also received the honor.
She shared how she and the future president first met in the law library. They graduated the same year.
"I heard a voice say, 'Not only that, we grow the biggest watermelons in the world.' I said, 'Who is that?' The answer was, 'That's Bill Clinton, and that's all he talks about,'" Clinton said. "Those were the days when he looked like a Viking from Arkansas. We had a conversation that day that continues into this one."
Clinton recalled her first days at Yale in 1969.
"It’s really hard to believe it’s been 40 years," she said. "I was driving a beat-up old car," she said. "I had a mattress tied to the roof. I was wearing my bell bottoms," the New York Times reported
On Friday, Clinton told business and political leaders in New York
that she would start thinking "seriously" about a White House run sometime next year.
"I will think about it because it's something on a lot of people's minds," she said. "And it's on my mind as well."
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