As the Clintons moved to the national stage with Bill's run for president in 1991, Hillary Clinton almost instantly became a lightning rod for criticism. No, wait, criticism is too pale a word for it. Unbridled hate is much more accurate. Man, did people hate Hillary! And if they didn't hate her, they really, really loved her. In fact, the only other person in American history ever to inspire as much violent love and rabid hate was her husband.
In an interview with "60 Minutes," Clinton responded to questions about Bill's dalliances by explaining that she wasn't "some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette." The media went nuts, repeating the clip endlessly and quizzing random citizens on the street about exactly how pissed off this statement made them. It was never exactly clear why this was supposed to piss people off, but after the sixth or seventh week of coverage it was just assumed that it did.
By summer 1994, everyone was getting kind of pissed off about this whole scandal thing, so an illustrious and impartial legal expert named Robert Fiske was brought in as a special counsel to investigate Whitewater. Investigations by Fiske, the Washington, D.C., police, the national park service, the Resolution Trust Corp., various House and Senate committees, at least one grand jury, all failed to turn up any compelling criminal case which could effectively be levied against the Clintons.
Hillary’ Marriage Attitude
"Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman." - Hillary Clinton
By doing nothing, Clinton dramatically reinforced the polarized reactions that had followed her every move since her husband's election. For the people who hated her, the stony silence reinforced her image as an ice queen; for those who loved her, it was a reaffirmation of her personal strength.
Somehow Hillary Clinton and the nation itself survived Bill Clinton's presidency. The First Family exited the White House with an extremely tiny scrap of dignity, a couple truckloads of merchandise and (in what has now become a presidential tradition) a funny-smelling cloud of last-minute presidential pardons. The couple moved to New York, where they had lived their entire lives. At least, that was how they tried to pitch it to the New York voters, as Clinton made the jump from First Wronged Woman to wearing the political pants in the family.