Hillary Clinton almost didn't take Bill's name, and other things to know about the likely 2016 candidate

Hillary Clinton 10 Facts
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Hillary Clinton almost didn't take Bill's name, and other things to know about the likely 2016 candidate

1. She went by her maiden for years after she married Bill in 1975. She went by "Mrs. Bill Clinton" shortly after her husband lost the 1980 Arkansas gubernatorial election in part because voters had questioned their marriage's stability.

(Photo by Douglas Burrows/Liaison)

2. She once described herself as a tomboy who wanted to be an astronaut, and wrote to NASA as a 12-year-old about how she could become an astronaut. They sent her a reply, clarifying that NASA didn't accept women in their astronaut program.

(Photo by Karin Cooper, Getty)

3. She was the student speaker picked to give the commencement speech at Wellesley, and received a standing ovation.

(Photo by John Mottern, AFP/Getty Images)

6. In 1974, she was one of only three women out of 43 lawyers who worked on the inquiry into whether President Nixon would be impeached.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

7. She named her daughter Chelsea after Joni Mitchell's song "Chelsea Morning."

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

9. She says she met Bill Clinton at the Yale law library when she approached him and said, "Look if you're going to keep staring at me, and I'm going to keep staring back, I think we should at least know each other. I'm Hillary Rodham. What's your name?"

(Photo by Mark Philips, AFP/Getty Images)

10. Her mother told her that she had been named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first man to to climb Everest, despite the fact that he had done so five years after she was born. A spokesperson for Clinton has said that this was a "sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add."

(Photo by Vincent Laforet, AFP/Getty Images)



Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce Sunday that she will be running for president.

Clinton outpaces any potential opponent in either party in at least one category: Name recognition. Very few Americans don't know the Chicago native, and only 1 in 10 say they don't know her well enough to have some sort of opinion of her, whether negative or positive.

She first captured national attention when she became first lady, serving as a close political advisor to her husband Bill Clinton during his time as president. She took on a more active political role than perhaps any first lady had before her -- a move that earned her some admiration and some criticism. She was very involved in the development of the health care reform plan the president advocated in his first year in office, and shared much of the blame in 1994 when Congress didn't approve the legislation. Years later he backed her when she ran for the U.S. Senate and when she campaigned for president. They now run the Clinton foundation with their daughter Chelsea.

While Hillary's political life has been closely linked to her husband's, she nearly was known by a different name. As The New York Times chronicled back in her first year as first lady, Hillary did not initially take on Bill's name when they wed in October 1975, instead continuing to go by her maiden name. "Ms. Rodham, a young, already notably successful lawyer, kept her name. Newspaper accounts referred to her as 'Miss Rodham,' 'Ms. Rodham' or 'Rodham,'" the paper noted.

But as voters in Arkansas began to bristle at Bill's "brash liberalism" Rodham eventually became known as Clinton, publicly campaigning for him as "Mrs. Bill Clinton" in 1982.

At this very early point in the campaign process, she is now the heavy favorite among Democrats. With Jeb Bush in the race and a serious contender, if not quite as strongly favored among Republicans as she is among Democrats, there is a significant chance the 2016 race could see Bush and Clinton face off just as another two did in 1992. If Americans are suffering from political dynasty fatigue, perhaps she'll want to switch back to Rodham again.

Click through the gallery above to see 10 facts you should know about the presidential hopeful.

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