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Hillary Clinton to Focus on Opportunities for Women, Economic Issues

The former Secretary of State kicked off her husband's Clinton Global Initiative meeting Thursday morning with remarks during the two-day event's opening speeches.

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    Brad Barket/Invision/AP
    Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on stage at the 2013 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, June 3, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP)

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that she is excited to call the Clinton Global Initiative America, which was founded by her husband, "my home" for a number of new initiatives.

    The potential 2016 presidential candidate said Thursday she intends to focus on early childhood development, the promotion of women and girls around the globe and economic development in her new role with the foundation.

    It was the former first lady's first speech at a Clinton Foundation event since leaving the State Department in February. The Clinton Initiative is gathering leaders in business, politics and philanthropy in Chicago for two days to promote economic recovery.

    Her appearance a day before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech at the conference ensures 2016 presidential election buzz officially is underway.

    Clinton and Christie are among the top contenders within their parties for the highest seat in the country, and while speculation continues, their back-to-back speeches surely will stoke the battle in Chicago.

    Christie, who once visited Illinois with the intent to lure away jobs, is one of two Republicans scheduled to appear at the gathering. He makes his speech Friday.

    Later in the evening, Clinton will be honored during the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) Benefit at Navy Pier for reaching out to millions affected by epilepsy.

    Clinton is being credited for raising awareness about epilepsy. As First Lady she became the driving force behind the first-ever conference for curing epilepsy and was the keynote speaker at the group's inaugural dinner back in 1999.