Clinton and Obama: A Tale of Two Senators

Brief legislative careers reveal much about candidates
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 11:25 AM CST
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee members, Democratic President hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., right, and Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., take part in the committee's hearing on...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Senate isn’t a powerful presidential launching pad, but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama arrived there amidst whispers of executive ambitions, and each charted a very different course, the LA Times reports. Clinton swiftly established herself as an inside operator, forging alliances and focusing on her state, while Obama traded on his outsider image to champion ethics reform.

Neither candidate sponsored landmark legislation, but each had victories. Clinton delivered for New York after 9/11 and passed several small healthcare reforms. She took a seat on the Armed Services Committee, bolstering her security credentials. Obama, meanwhile, thought big. He joined the Foreign Relations Committee and soon cosponsored anti-proliferation legislation. Soon he was pushing unpopular ideas in his ethics crusade.