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Where does Hillary Clinton stand?

Presidential dead heat 02:34

What would Hillary Clinton do should she win the White House? She said when she announced her candidacy that "Everyday Americans need a champion," and told voters she wanted to be that champion. That is largely borne out in her platform, which has placed a high emphasis on college affordability, income inequality, green energy, criminal justice reform, gun policy and the economic concerns of the middle class.

On foreign policy, she supports President Obama's initiatives and philosophy, and as has been pointed out during the campaign, played a sizable role in its implementation as his first secretary of state. She backs the nuclear deal with Iran and the U.S. rapprochement with Cuba, for example. That said, she differs from him in some respects, too, on the question of whether the U.S. should arm Syrian rebels fighting Islamic extremists and the Assad government.

With that in mind, read on, to see where Hillary Clinton stands on some of the major issues of the campaign.

  • Environment/Energy
  • Entitlements
  • Women
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Taxes
  • Foreign policy
  • Defense spending
  • Education
  • Gun control
  • Terrorism

This series was written and produced by Reena Flores, Rebecca Shabad, Emily Schultheis, Julia Boccagno, Christina Capatides, Jennifer Earl, and Shayna Freisleben, with contributions from Hannah Fraser-Chanpong.


The Democratic presidential nominee has set a... 01:13

Hillary Clinton's aggressive approach to the environment echoes, as well as advances, President Obama's pledge to mitigate the "grave threat" of climate change around the world.

The Democratic nominee's record on energy, however, has evolved over the course of her long public service. As secretary of state, Clinton defended and promoted the Keystone Pipeline. As a presidential candidate, though, she declined to weigh in on the pipeline until last September, and when she did, it was to announce she opposed it.

On fracking, the process which uses high pressure water to extract natural gas, Clinton has qualified her support. During a debate in March, she said she didn't support fracking "when any locality or any state is against it," when methane is released or "contaminated water is present," and third, she said that companies that are fracking must disclose the chemicals they use.

Here are some of the other key components to Clinton's environmental and energy platform:


  • Install 500 million solar panels by 2020
  • Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the next decade
  • Cut oil and gas subsidies
  • Revitalize coal communities, especially given that "...we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business" (this was a remark that Clinton was hammered for as soon as she said it)
  • Defend, implement and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including President Obama's Clean Power Plan
  • Revamp the Renewable Fuel Standard-- federal regulation that was enacted in 2005 and mandated that transportation fuel sold in the U.S. contain a minimum amount of renewable fuels


  • Create an environmental and climate justice task force to reduce pollution and toxic hazards that disproportionately affect low-income families and minority communities
  • Expand the conservation of public lands by establishing an American parks trust fund
  • Improve water security and efficiency in the country through a multi-agency partnership and technology


Hillary Clinton has promised not to cut socia... 01:00

By Emily Schultheis

The future of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare is the subject of fierce partisan debate--and something each candidate is asked about during a presidential race.

Four years ago, in 2012, Mitt Romney came under fire for the position of his running mate, now-House Speaker Paul Ryan, for the cuts he proposed to keep entitlement programs solvent.

This year, though, neither Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton nor Republican nominee Donald Trump have said they plan to cut Social Security benefits, though each has something different to say about how they would preserve the benefits that are currently in place.

Here is a CBS News guide to Clinton's position on the issue:

Expand Social Security

Like many Democrats, Clinton has argued that not only can Social Security not be cut, but it must be expanded "for those who need it most."

She does not believe the retirement age should be raised, nor does she think that Social Security should be privatized in any way. She also opposes reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments on Social Security payments.

Expand Social Security benefits for those who need it most

Clinton has advocated for an expansion of Social Security for certain groups who are "treated unfairly by the current system," according to her website.

These groups include widows who took time out of the workforce to take care of children or other family members. Under her plan, the same would be true for men or women who took time off work in order to care for an aging parent or sick relative.

Raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for expanded Social Security benefits

In order to pay for expanded Social Security benefits, Clinton has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy. She would do this by raising the payroll cap and by taxing some of their income that is not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.

"In short, Hillary will ask the most fortunate to pay more so we can expand Social Security, and preserve its guarantee for generations to come," her campaign wrote to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) earlier this year.

Women's issues

The Democratic presidential nominee supports ... 01:22

By Reena Flores

Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee of a major party, likes to slam critics who accuse her of playing "the woman's card."

"If fighting for women's health care and paid family leave and equal pay is 'playing the woman card,' then deal me in!" Clinton said back in April, speaking in Philadelphia as she clinched the Democratic nomination in the party's primary.

The former first lady is embracing women's issues during this year's presidential election, pitting her record and proposals against those of her rival, Donald Trump.

"When Donald Trump says 'let's make America great again,' that is code for 'let's take America backward' -- back to a time when opportunity and dignity were reserved for some, not all. Back to the days when abortions were illegal, women had far fewer options and life for too many women and girls were limited," Clinton said at a Planned Parenthood event in June. "Well Donald, those days are over."

Here are Clinton's plans to lift women up in the workplace and to ensure their reproductive health rights:


  • Clinton believes in a woman's right to choose and pledges to defend the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court
  • She would repeal the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used to support abortion services

Planned Parenthood

  • Clinton promises to stop Republicans from defunding the women's health organization
  • Planned Parenthood endorsed Clinton in its first primary endorsement in January

Child care and family leave

  • Clinton wants 12 weeks of paid maternity and medical leave
  • Under her proposals, no family would pay more than 10 percent of income on child care
  • Increase federal funding to bring down the cost of child care
  • Clinton calls for universal pre-kindergarten education
    • She would double fund the Early Head Start-Child Care partnership program

Equal pay

  • Clinton believes in equal pay for equal work
  • She wants to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill Clinton introduced as a senator which would promote pay transparency
    • She was an original co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Health care

The Democratic presidential nominee wants to ... 01:07

Voters face a clear choice on the direction of health care in this country, since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could not disagree more about how to achieve health care reform.

A reliable applause line at Trump rallies is when he calls for the repeal of Obamacare. But Clinton has long been a health care activist. As first lady, Clinton headed a task force on health care reform in 1993, for which she was vilified by conservatives and industry lobbyists, and she campaigned on the individual mandate in 2008.

Here's a reference guide to Clinton's positions on health care:

Support and expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Hillary Clinton is a vocal supporter of the ACA and would like to expand its provisions, even though that is unlikely if Republicans continue to hold a majority in Congress. Currently 11.1 Million Americans have insurance coverage through the Marketplace, and the uninsured rate has dropped to 9.1 percent. Clinton advocates introducing a public option (a government-run insurance provider), and she wants to allow people over 55 years old to buy in to Medicare.

She would also expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status, allowing them to purchase insurance on health exchanges.

Make prescription drugs more affordable

Clinton's plan to make prescription drugs more affordable calls for increased competition among pharmaceutical makers. "Too many American families and seniors are being squeezed by rising drug costs," she wrote in a memo a year ago. She says she would "hold drug companies accountable when they try to put profits ahead of patients" by fining drug makers that dramatically increase prices.

Clinton would also leverage the currently-untapped bargaining power the government has in negotiations over Medicare drug prices. Clinton would allow Medicare, which has more than 40 million enrollees, to negotiate drug and biologic prices. Currently, drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries are negotiated by a disparate set of benefit managers.

She would cap covered, out-of-pocket drug expenses at $250 a month.

Defend access to abortion and reproductive health care

Clinton's position is to "defend access to reproductive health care." She pledges to keep abortion legal and safe and is a long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood. She has lambasted Trump about his flip-flopping over abortion, calling his comments "outrageous."

With reporting from Stephanie Condon


Hillary Clinton on immigration 01:26

By Rebecca Shabad

Hillary Clinton's approach to immigration throughout the presidential campaign has been to blast Donald Trump's proposals and advocate for immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, among other things.

Clinton has pushed for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and she has said she would defend President Obama's 2012 and 2014 immigration actions. The Obama administration was prevented from implementing the latter and the Supreme Court revealed in June that it tied in the case challenging them, blocking it from taking effect.

While she's largely defended the administration, Clinton has also denounced it for its deportation raids, calling them "divisive" in January.

She has slammed Trump's plan to build a wall along the border and deport undocumented immigrants.

Here's where Clinton stands on immigration:

Unveil comprehensive immigration reform with pathway to citizenship

Her campaign website says, "Hillary will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office."

Defend Obama's DACA, DAPA programs

Clinton has argued that the president's 2014 immigration actions -- DAPA and the expansion of DACA -- are squarely within the president's authority.

In her statement reacting to Texas v. United States at the Supreme Court, Clinton said, "I will continue to defend DAPA and DACA, and do everything possible under the law to go further to protect families. It is also why I will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship within my first 100 days. Because when families are strong--America is strong."

Here campaign website says she would also:

  • End family detention and close private immigration detention centers
  • Promote naturalization by expanding fee waivers to alleviate costs, increase access to language programs and increase outreach and education
  • Enforce immigration laws humanely


Hillary Clinton on taxes 01:32

By Reena Flores

After a fraught primary face-off with Bernie Sanders, a self-identified Democratic Socialist, Hillary Clinton has prioritized wealth inequality as a top concern to address during her campaign. Clinton's tax proposals reflect a desire to even out the wealth gap, and her plan calls for the ultra rich to pay "their fair share."

"It's outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hardworking families," Clinton said in January, "especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes."

Here are Clinton's proposed reforms to America's tax code:

Taxes would increase for those with higher incomes

  • Clinton would raise taxes on wealthier Americans, including a four-percent surcharge on incomes of over $5 million
  • Those earning over $1 million will be subject to a minimum 30 percent tax rate -- what's been deemed the "Buffett Rule," after billionaire investor Warren Buffett
  • Tax deductions would be capped for wealthier taxpayers
    • She would increase taxes in 2017 for top one percent by $78,284

There would be little effect on middle-income taxpayers

  • Proposals would have little impact on bottom 95 percent of taxpayers
  • At a Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire last year, Clinton was asked about her goal not to raise taxes on families making under $200,000 per year. "That is a pledge that I'm making. I don't think we should be imposing new big programs that are going to raise middle class families' taxes," Clinton responded.

The corporate tax rate would remain the same: 35 percent

Clinton aims to eliminate carried interest, other loopholes

  • Close the carried interest loophole, which largely benefits hedge fund managers and private equity firms, enabling them to pay a lower tax rate of 20 percent
  • Close the "Romney loophole," which allows wealthy Americans to stash millions of dollars in tax-preferred retirement accounts
  • Close foreign reinsurance loopholes

Increase estate taxes

  • Currently, estates worth $5.45 million or less are free from a federal estate tax. Clinton would drop that exemption down to apply to just those estates worth $3.5 million or less.
  • She would also increase the estate tax rate to 45 percent (from 40 percent)

Cut down on corporate inversions

  • Clinton would make it harder for an American company to classify itself as foreign-owned to avoid U.S. taxation
  • Establish "exit tax" on companies that leave the country while still keeping earnings overseas that haven't been subject to U.S. tax

On child care

  • Clinton has put forth proposals intended to limit child care expenses to 10 percent of family income

Social security

  • She would ask wealthy to contribute more by raising cap on income currently subject to Social Security taxes

Defense spending

Clinton on defense spending 02:09

Much of Hillary Clinton's defense spending plan appears in broad strokes at this point in her campaign. Like opponent Donald Trump, Clinton would increase spending and has called for ending sequestration cuts.

"[W]e cannot impose arbitrary limits on something as important as our military. That make no sense at all," she told an audience at the American Legion at the end of August.

  • Where does Donald Trump stand on military spending?

She calls for "the best-trained, best-equipped and strongest military the world has ever known," according to her website. Rather than building up traditional military hardware, though, the concerns for Clinton has are for the 21st century threats -- cyber war and the asymmetric threat of terrorism She has indicated that she would refine the Pentagon's procurement process, calling for a "smart and sustainable defense budget driven by strategy."

Along these lines, Clinton has called for a commission to investigate military spending, saying in September, "We are overdue for a very thorough debate in our country about what we need, and how we are going to pay for it."

In some cases, she says Congress is the problem, with some lawmakers who prevent the Defense Department from eliminating unnecessary or failing defense programs.

"Very often, leadership of the Defense Department wants to eliminate certain spending, or wants to change it, and they're stopped by the Congress" Clinton said at a town hall in New Hampshire in September. Though it's clear she would increase military spending, Clinton has also suggested that she would work to offset new spending with cuts elsewhere.

Beyond equipment acquisition, Clinton's campaign has more detailed proposals for the members of the military -- both active duty and veterans.

Clinton would work to curb health care costs for members of the military, veterans and their families.

  • Modernize and reform the VHA, so that veterans have access to timely health care.
  • Oppose privatizing veterans health care but supports purchasing some private-sector health care, when needed for specialty care or in cases when the VHA can't provide timely access.
  • Establish an oversight board that would monitor the VA's accountability and effectiveness of the processes

Clinton also calls for improving women's health care at the VHA, expanding mental health treatment and providing better prescription practices

For active-duty military members, Clinton advocates strengthening the resources for military families -- increasing support for spouses, expanding mental health programs, extended leave policies and developing spouse employment initiatives, among other programs.

Foreign policy

Clinton on foreign policy 01:23

By Emily Schultheis

With everything from Brexit to the Iran nuclear deal to Russian hackers in the headlines this fall, foreign policy is playing a major role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

As the former secretary of state under President Obama, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was the public face of U.S. foreign policy from 2009 to 2013, famously visiting 112 countries during her four years with the State Department.

Though her foreign policy expertise has earned her praise even from some Republicans who are wary of GOP nominee Donald Trump, Clinton has come under fire for some aspects of her time as Secretary of State--most notably, her decision to use a private email server to conduct State-related business. Republicans have also seized on her handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.

Here are some key components of Clinton's stated views on foreign policy:

Develop new tools in the fight against ISIS

Clinton has said she would not put boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria to aid in the fight against ISIS, but instead would provide support to Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground. She proposes working with Arab nations in the region to provide resources for the battle against the terrorist network, sharing intelligence with European allies and coordinating air attacks.

With regard to "lone wolf" attacks in the U.S., Clinton proposes an "intelligence surge" that would help equip local and federal law enforcement with the information necessary to identify potential attackers before they carry out their plans. She also suggested "intensifying" relations between law enforcement and Muslim American communities around the country, implementing "no fly, no buy" policies to prevent those on terror watch lists from obtaining firearms, and enlisting U.S. tech companies in the fight against ISIS' online recruitment efforts both in the U.S. and abroad.

Clinton has also advocated for a no-fly zone over Syria, saying at a Democratic debate in April that "we need to put in safe havens for those poor Syrians who are fleeing both Assad and ISIS and so they have some place they can be safe."

Stand up to Russia and China

Clinton, unlike Trump, has urged a firm hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Though she stood with Putin for a 2009 photo op with a red "reset" button, symbolizing a "reset" in U.S.-Russia relations, by 2014 (after she had left the State Department) she was saying she was "skeptical" of Putin.

She has described Putin as a "bully," noting that the U.S. and Russia have a complicated relationship. "My relationship with [Putin], it's--it's interesting. It's one, I think, of respect," she said during a Democratic debate in January. "We've had some very tough dealings with one another. And I know that he's someone that you have to continually stand up to because, like many bullies, he is somebody who will take as much as he possibly can unless you do."

As for China, Clinton has been a frequent critic of the country's human rights violations going back all the way to 1995, when she delivered her famous "women's rights are human rights" speech in Beijing. She has since made it clear that the relationship with China is "challenging," and that the U.S. will work with China but also stand up to the country when necessary.

Clinton will "press China to play by the rules--including in cyberspace, on currency, human rights, trade, territorial disputes, and climate change--and hold it accountable if it does not, while working with China where it is in our interest," her issues website reads.

Preserve and strengthen key alliances around the world

While her opponent has criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and suggested the U.S. should reconsider its role in the international organization, Clinton has urged continued cooperation and collaboration with the U.S.' international allies around the globe.

"From the Middle East and Asia to Europe and our own hemisphere, Hillary will strengthen the essential partnerships that are a unique source of America's strength," her website's issues page reads. "HIllary knows that NATO is one of the best investments that America has ever made. And she'll continue to support Israel's ability to defend itself ... Hillary will also invest in partnerships in Latin America, Africa, and Asia with people and nations who share our values and vision for the future."

Uphold the Iran nuclear deal

During her tenure at the State Department, Clinton was involved in laying the groundwork for the nuclear deal with Iran, and has said she will "vigorously enforce" the deal.

In a speech at the Brookings Institution in fall 2015, Clinton said her approach toward Iran is "distrust and verify"--noting that she would "not hesitate to take military action" if Iran moved toward obtaining a nuclear weapon.

She said at the September Commander-in-Chief forum that she did not believe Iran was "playing us" when it came to its nuclear efforts, but did note that the Middle Eastern country was not adhering to the deal when it came to ballistic missiles, its involvement in Syria, and other issues.

"I would rather as president be dealing with Iran on all of those issues without having to worry as much about their racing for a nuclear weapon," she said.

Build on the Obama administration's new Cuba policy

Clinton has praised President Obama's efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, supporting his policies and calling for an end to the trade embargo with the island nation.

"The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all," she said in a speech in Miami in summer 2015. "We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers Cuban businesses, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime."


Hillary Clinton on education 01:39

By Julia Boccagno

By the end of 2016, student loan debt will have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. In fact, estimates report that approximately 43 million students in the United States will owe nearly $1.3 trillion. That means the average class of 2016 graduate has nearly $38,000 in debt--a six percent increase from last year.

Hillary Clinton, a longtime education advocate, emphasizes education policy in her presidential agenda--pushing for early as well as higher education reform.

"The public school system has been, I believe, second to the Constitution, the most important institution in making America the great country that we have been over the last 200 plus years," Clinton said in 2015.

Her original plan cost $350 billion over a decade, but she expanded the college affordability portion of the plan significantly in July. There has not yet been an updated cost estimate from the campaign. Overall, the plan would be paid for by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Here are the key components to Clinton's educational policy:

Early education:

  • Make preschool and quality childcare "available to every child in America" in the next decade
  • End the school-to-prison-pipeline by reforming harsh discipline standards in schools. "A classroom should be a safe place for our children, we shouldn't even have to say that," she said in a February speech. "This isn't just an education issue, this is a civil rights issue and we can't ignore it any longer."

College affordability:

  • Enact policy that would allow families that make less than $125,000 to attend public colleges for free--a leftward shift in Clinton's education platform thanks to some pressure from Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, who called for "free-tuition-for-all." The plan has a five-year phase-in, but families making $85,000 or less would immediately be exempt from tuition at in-state public schools.
  • Pell Grants for low-income students would be expanded
  • Her "New Compact Plan" would incentivize states to keep tuition rates down and provide grant money to those who demonstrate a commitment to college affordability

Student debt:

  • Expand student loan repayment options, such as refinancing and deferment, so that "debt won't hold [them] back"
  • Would give student borrowers a three-month moratorium on student loan payments, during which time the government could help graduates either refinance, consolidate or enter into an income-based repayment program
  • Implement a "expiration date" for student loans to prevent the government from "making money off of lending money to young people to get their education"

John Wasik, author of "The Debt-Free Degree," contributed to this article

Gun control

The Democratic presidential nominee advocates... 00:56

By Reena Flores

As gun violence continues to ravage the country, legal restrictions on the buying and selling of firearms have been put into sharp focus in this year's general election.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton -- who has earned the endorsement of such pro-gun control groups as Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -- has addressed the issue several times on the campaign trail, saying she would like to implement "common sense" gun legislation.

"I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets," Clinton said in June. "We may have our disagreements on gun safety regulations, but we should all be able to agree on a few things."

Take a look at Clinton's proposals on gun control policy:

Clinton advocates for "common sense gun laws"

She wants to expand background checks

Clinton pledges to close loopholes in existing firearm laws

  • She wants to close the "Charleston loophole" which allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if that check is not complete within three days. According to the FBI, it's how Dylann Roof -- the shooter in Charleston, South Carolina who killed nine parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last June -- was able to get his gun.
  • She would ask Congress to close the so-called "gun show loophole" and require any person engaging in a high volume of gun sales -- particularly at gun shows and on the internet -- to be held to the same standards as sellers at gun stores

Clinton would repeal immunity protections for the gun industry

With the upcoming election, CBS News is publishing a new feature series on the two major party nominees and their positions on important policy issues. Check out our list of stories and videos below:


The Democratic nominee has said she would not... 01:31

By Reena Flores

As Americans weigh their options for the next commander-in-chief, the U.S. continues its fight against terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), both at home and abroad.

Pitching her plans to combat terrorism, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has taken to the campaign trail with pledges to continue an air campaign in the Middle East -- but her plans to combat terrorism fall short of sending boots on the ground.

"In terms of thousands of combat troops like some on the Republican side are recommending... it should be a non-starter," Clinton said last year in an interview with "CBS This Morning." "Both because I don't think it's the smartest way to go after ISIS -- I think it gives ISIS a new recruitment tool if we get back in the fight."

Instead, Clinton would rely heavily on U.S. allies in Europe and in the Middle East region when it comes to fighting terror threats.

Here are the key components to Clinton's counterterrorism strategy:

Take out ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria from the air

Work with U.S. allies abroad to dismantle terror networks

  • Partner with European allies to share intelligence and target sources of terror financing
  • Assist in air missions over Iraq and Syria
  • Train and equip special forces

Clinton plans to fight homegrown terrorism as well

  • Create a task force to eliminate "lone wolves"
  • Launch an "intelligence surge" to better equip local and federal law enforcement
  • Build on law enforcement relations with Muslim American communities. After the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Clinton proposed "intensifying" such relations, saying, "Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work and raise their families across America. And they are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it's too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. So we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them."
  • Implement "no fly, no buy" policies to prevent those on terror watch lists from obtaining firearms
  • Work with tech companies to fight ISIS propaganda
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