In memoir excerpts, Clinton honors her mom
May 11th, 2014
09:56 AM ET
9 years ago

In memoir excerpts, Clinton honors her mom

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton honored her late mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, as her life's biggest influence in excerpts from her upcoming memoir, "Hard Choices," released Sunday by Vogue magazine.

Clinton, whose first grandchild is expected this year, said that as she approaches that stage in life, she has found herself "thinking a lot about my relationship with my own mom, as an adult as well as in childhood, and what lessons I learned from her." Chelsea Clinton, Bill and Hillary Clinton's only daughter, is due to give birth this fall.

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"No one had a bigger influence on my life or did more to shape the person I became," Clinton says in the Mother's Day tribute. "Mom measured her own life by how much she was able to help us and serve others. I knew if she was still with us, she would be urging us to do the same. Never rest on your laurels. Never quit. Never stop working to make the world a better place. That’s our unfinished business."

Clinton speaks about her mother more than she does other members of her family. Last month in Louisville, Kentucky, Clinton discussed how her mother, who taught Sunday school, grounded her in Methodism and showed her the faith's "concerns about social justice and compassion."

Clinton echoed those words in her book's excerpts, writing that "even in her 90s, Mom never lost her commitment to social justice, which did so much to mold and inspire me when I was growing up."

Dorothy Howell Rodham had a difficult childhood and was abandoned by her mother twice in her young years. After leaving her mother's home in Chicago, she moved in with her strict grandparents in California. She moved back to Chicago at 14 and was on her own, working as a secretary, when she met Hugh Rodham, the man she would marry.

Hugh and Dorothy Rodham raised their children in Park Ridge, a conservative and religious suburb of Chicago. When Clinton moved to Arkansas and married Bill Clinton, the couple followed and lived in Little Rock. Hugh Rodham died in 1993 and Dorothy in 2011.

Despite being fiercely private and shying away from media attention, Dorothy Rodham occasionally made campaign appearances during her daughter's failed 2008 presidential bid and helped the former first lady raise money to retire her campaign debt after the race.

Dorothy Rodham was an important influence on Chelsea Clinton, too, writes Hillary Clinton.

"For Chelsea, her grandmother was one of the most important figures in her life," Clinton writes. "Mom helped Chelsea navigate the unique challenges of growing up in the public eye and, when she was ready, encouraged her to pursue her passion for service and philanthropy. … I’m not sure if I ever saw Mom happier than at Chelsea’s wedding. She proudly walked down the aisle on Zach’s arm and exulted over her joyful, radiant granddaughter."

The Mother's Day excerpts are the first released from the upcoming memoir. The book is an important one for Clinton, the current favorite to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination should she run. Critics have charged that her time as America's top diplomat was marked by a lack of a crowning achievement, while Clinton confidants have looked to frame those years as a success and see the book as the most potent way to do that.

Clinton has said the book begins with her accepting President Barack Obama's offer to become secretary of state and covers a range of topics, including Iran, Syria and Libya. She has joked that the memoir will be "just another light summer read" and will cover topics from "Crimea to climate change."

"Hard Choices" will be released June 10.

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. jerry

    oh really mz clinton (or rodham) or whom ever you call yourself today. Did your mother teach you to lie? Did she teach you to hide documents? It's time, mz clinton, to retire to your NY and live off the hundreds of millions you and your husband have profiteered from public service. Good bye.

    May 11, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. .

    Hillary will have to run on - and defend - Goodluck Barack Hussein Obama's failed economic policies.

    Good Luck, Hill!

    May 11, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. MF Cleveland

    Mothers form us from picking our fathers, carrying us, delivering us and Then the truly hard work starts! Mrs Clinton knows all of the predjudices women face from the weaker sex- men. She heralds the change that is coming World wide whether she runs or not: women are coming into their own And they are NOT going back into the kitchen. As over a majority of the population- women are getting control of politics, commerce, education, and their own bodies. The 21st century – took a while to get here, but YOU'VE COME A LOOONG WAY, BABY!

    May 11, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. volsocal

    Her biggest influence is realizing how much better of a liar Obama is than she is.

    May 11, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. volsocal

    Media bias.

    May 11, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Phyllis G Williams

    When my son who gives me 100% love called me this morning to say Happy Mothers Day I told him to remember that Daddy (1st John 2: 1) is FIRST (smile)

    May 11, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Tom

    If the Dems run Hilary, it will be giving the election to the GOP!

    May 11, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    And to all you Moms out there........HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!! We love you Mama.

    May 11, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. DK

    The Republican candidate will have to run on the party's lack of ideas, failed trickle-down Bush economic policies, Ayn Rand inspired selfishness and greed, crazy Benghazi conspiracy theories and witch hunts, nonexistent Obamacare reform plan, anti-gay opposition to freedom and equality, anti-science diatribes against climate change, and its sexism and control over women.

    Good luck, Hillary, indeed. Although she won't need it.

    May 11, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. NameA Lifetime of Hard Work

    Happy Mother's Day to all moms.
    To the delusional partisan dullards, knocking Hillary on this day- in response to this article... Your mothers would be ashamed of you (as are we).

    May 11, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. whta

    Media bias at its finest. Notice they nowhere mention what the likes of Bachman or Pailin have done this mothers day.

    May 11, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. danicalifornia

    Doesn't CNN get it? Most of the posts are not in Hillary Clinton's when are they going to stop running all these irrelevant puff pieces??

    May 11, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Bobby Franklin

    Why is this news other than to further your efforts in promoting her in the Presidential election? I mean, that is the agenda here isn't it?

    May 11, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Home simpson

    What amazes me is people actually but these memoirs and books written by the politicians terrorist in office.

    May 11, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. Jimmyz

    Shameless plug for the shameless globalist puppet conditioning the masses for the corporate media driven 2016 illusion of choice.

    May 11, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. Lee McBride

    "Partisan dullards" aside, I just don't understand how anyone can believe anything about this lady anymore – even on "Mother's Day". She (and Bill) are consumed for the their lust of POTUS and will do/say anything to achieve that end. Only the most hardcore of democrats ("ready for Hillary") can stomach her bile.

    May 11, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. Larry L

    May 11, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |


    If the Dems run Hilary, it will be giving the election to the GOP!
    I recall hearing similar predictions for McCain and Romney... The GOP will have to run on a platform based on what the were "against", the unfounded conspiracies they created, and the progress they obstructed. They have not one accomplishment to claim. They held America hostage and never sent a serious bill to the Senate for consideration – just toxic "personhood" riders or over 40 "defund healthcare" bills. Now that the Tea Party is flushed the fragmented Republicans must try to distance themselves from those radicals – yet still get past the primaries. The GOP is over.

    May 11, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. McBob79

    And so it begins! CNN, like many other liberal outlets will begin to promote Mrs. Clinton for president. This will not be quite as obvious or outrageous as their support for then candidate Obama, but it will be an orchestrated, coordinated media effort to get her elected.

    May 11, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Just

    Any chance Hillary thinks she has ANY accomplishment that would be appropriate for her to run for POTUS? If so needs to be verified.

    May 11, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. gstlab3

    I think her biggest influence has allways been greed and the power.

    May 11, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. blakenaustin

    Hillary's mentors included Marxists, lesbians, and anarchists. This far left fool would do as much harm to our nation in the White House as Obama has done.

    May 11, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. mannyalbite

    I guess Hillary hater must be republicans, they don't listen to polls or science and yes as we all know the people

    May 11, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. mannyalbite

    all this Hillary haters, must be republicans, because they don't listen to polls, science and YES the people.

    May 11, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  24. Bill

    It's kind of natural that she'd speak more about her mother. Hugh Rodham was a staunch supporter of Berry Goldwater, and Hillary actually worked for his campaign in '64. Best not to talk about dad so much.

    May 11, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. asdhj

    I figured it would be Monica

    May 11, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
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