Hillary Clinton speaks at Clinton Global conference

Hillary Clinton speaks to guests at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

The push to create more opportunities for women is the “great unfinished business of this century,” Hillary Clinton said Thursday, telling a Chicago audience that “when women participate in peacemaking and peacekeeping, we are safer and more secure, and when women participate in politics, the effects ripple throughout society.”

Introducing his wife, former President Bill Clinton announced the former secretary of State would be working full-time at the foundation he started, which will be renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Her speech, to open a Clinton Global Initiative conference in Chicago, came as the latest step in a carefully choreographed series of moves that have kept Clinton and her presidential ambitions at the center of political speculation. Earlier this week, she attracted considerable attention simply by making her debut on Twitter. She joined the social media site Monday and by Thursday morning had more than 450,000 followers.


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Prior to taking the stage, Clinton sent out just her second tweet, proclaiming “What an incredible Twitter welcome! In my hometown Chicago for #CGIAmerica.”

The nearly half-hour speech to several hundred business and government leaders broke little new ground. Clinton, who received a louder and longer ovation than the former president, said her work at the family foundation would focus on three key areas that “have been close to my heart for my entire adult life: early childhood development, opportunities for women and girls and economic development that creates jobs and gives more people in more places the chance to live up to their own God-given potential.”

Before Clinton spoke, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a short address on the need for cities to find innovative ways to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and rail lines when fewer state and federal resources are available.

“There is not a single mayor who is not facing this challenge,” Emanuel said. “We have challenges to invest in our cities, and we have very little public resources like we used to have, so we have to figure out how to come up with public-private partnerships to actually solve this problem.”

After Emanuel spoke, Clinton, who has worked with him since her husband’s first presidential campaign in 1992, offered the mayor a political pat on the back.


“As someone who was born in this city and have spent so many wonderful years growing up here, and coming back and visiting, it’s exciting to see what it looks like, what it’s doing,” she said. “And I appreciated what Mayor Emanuel is telling us about all the other tasks that are being undertaken to ensure Chicago is a global destination and, in fact, a competitive city across the world.”

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Twitter: @BillRuthhart