Reporting Todd Quinones
By Todd Quinones, Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage Tuesday night in front of a crowd of several hundred on the lawn of the National Constitutional Center.
Clinton was awarded the 2013 Liberty Medal for her career in public service and advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls around the world.
As a former first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, Clinton broke numerous barriers. She traveled to more countries than any other first lady or secretary of state. As third in command, she held more than 1,700 meetings throughout the world and logged more than a million miles. Out of office, Clinton continues her public service and diplomacy by fighting for the rights of women and girls worldwide.
“In a democracy, citizens cannot sit on the sidelines,” Clinton said.
Clinton acknowledged the significance of the 12th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. She told the crowd that America must stand united by allowing more people to fully participate in the rights of citizenship. She also encouraged citizens to stand up and be active and help create bipartisan solutions to strengthen the country’s view in the world.
“When we let Partisanship override citizenship when we fail to make progress on the challenges facing our people at home, our standing in the world suffers,” Clinton said.
In her speech, Clinton addressed the looming situation in Syria and the use of chemical weapons.
“That violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s speech drew about a dozen people who protested, some against any military action in Syria.
“This debate is good for our democracy,” Clinton said.
The former First Lady is the 25th recipient of the Liberty Medal.
She went on to say the world pays close attention to what’s done in Washington and that partisanship has a lasting impact.
“When we fail to make progress on the challenges facing our people here at home, our standing in the world suffers,” Clinton said.
During some lighter moments, Chairman of the National Constitution Center Jeb Bush, as well as Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter referenced Clinton running for president again.
“She will be the first, First Lady to walk back into the White House in her own right as President of the United States of America,” Nutter said.
Governor Bush is also rumored to be eyeing a possible presidential bid.
Even though Bush and Clinton shared the same stage Tuesday night, they sat at opposite ends of the stage.
They did not sit next to each other.
Other Liberty Medal recipients include former South African President Nelson Mandela and boxing champion Muhammad Ali.