March 20, 1995 in Nation/World

Hillary Clinton Vows To Work On ‘Human Issues’ At Home, Abroad First Lady’s First TV Interview In Months Begins A Busy Week

New York Times

In her first live televised interview since the November elections, Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Sunday to work on “the human issues” at home and abroad, said Republican spending cuts would finance tax breaks for “very rich people,” and played down her role in her husband’s decision to propose tax relief for the middle class.

At the beginning of a week that will take her halfway around the world on an official visit to South Asia, Mrs. Clinton took call-in questions from viewers half a world away in an hourlong session on CNN’s “Late Edition.” She touched on topics ranging from affirmative action to welfare reform to the 1996 elections and her own role as a pioneering first lady.

But what she stressed most was her commitment to issues affecting women and children, at home and abroad, and she delicately sidestepped questions on touchy topics, including Whitewater, the baseball strike and human rights violations in Pakistan - the last from a Pakistani caller in the Netherlands.

After keeping a relatively low profile for months in the wake of the Democrats’ disastrous showing in the midterm elections, Mrs. Clinton has re-emerged in recent weeks in several prominent settings: speeches to United Nations conferences on social and women’s issues in Copenhagen and New York, and guest columns in magazines and newspapers on the need to invest in education and children. On Friday, she begins a 12-day good-will tour of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“Well, I think it’s all pretty much the same kinds of issues that I’ve always cared about now for more than 25 years, and that I guess you could describe are the human issues,” Mrs. Clinton replied when asked what she was “up to” in making the trip. “I mean, what do we do to make sure that children have healthy futures and they get the education they need?”

At the same time, Mrs. Clinton took some pains to play down her part in White House policy deliberations. Aides to President Clinton have said she was a strong advocate in December for the president’s proposed tax deductions for education and tax credits for families with children at a time when some other aides favored deeper deficit reduction.

“I was not involved in those decisions,” she told a caller from Buffalo, N.Y., who asked if that was so. Pressed by the moderator, Frank Sesno, she softened that just a bit, saying: “I was not involved in most of the work that was done on the budget.”

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