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Bill Clinton

William Jefferson
Clinton (born August
19, 1946) was the 42nd
(1993-2001) President  Order:           42nd President
of the United States.  Term of Office:  January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001
                       Successor:       George W. Bush
                       Date of Birth:   Monday, August 19, 1946
                       Place of Birth:  Hope, Arkansas
                       First Lady:      Hillary Rodham Clinton
                       Profession:      lawyer, politician
                       Political Party: Democrat
                       Vise President:  Albert Gore, Jr.

Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He
was named William Jefferson Blythe IV after his father, William Jefferson
Blythe III, a travelling salesman who had been killed in a car accident just
three months before his son was born. Billy, as he was called, was raised by
his mother and stepfather Roger Clinton, using the last name "Clinton"
throughout elementary school, but not formally changing it until he was 15.
Billy grew up in a turbulent family. His stepfather was a gambler and
alcoholic who regularly abused his wife, and sometimes his half brother
Roger, Jr. (born 1956).

He rose from poverty to graduate from Georgetown University with a degree in
International Affairs, attending England's prestigious Oxford University
(University College) on a Rhodes Scholarship, and receiving a law degree
from Yale Law School.

Political Career

After teaching law for a few years, Clinton was elected Attorney General of
Arkansas. Bill Clinton was governor of the state of Arkansas for six terms,
from 1978 to 1980 and from 1982 to 1992.

Clinton was the first Democrat to serve two full terms as President since
Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His election ended an era in which the Republican
party had controlled the Presidency for 12 consecutive years, and for 20 of
the previous 24 years. That election also brought the Democrats full control
of the political branches of the federal government, including both houses
of Congress as well as the Presidency, for the first time since the
administration of Jimmy Carter.

Clinton won the 1992 election against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush
and independent candidate Ross Perot, largely on a platform focusing on
domestic issues, notably the economic recession of the pre-election period -
using the line "It's the economy, stupid!", in his campaign headquarters.

Immediately upon taking office, Clinton fulfilled a campaign promise by
signing the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which required employers
of a certain size to allow their employees to take unpaid leave because of a
family or medical emergency. While this action was popular, Clinton's
initial reluctance to fulfill another campaign promise relating to the
acceptance of openly gay members of the military garnered criticism from
both the left (for being too tentative in promoting gay rights) and the
right (for being too insensitive to military life). After much debate,
Clinton and The Pentagon agreed to a Don't ask, don't tell policy, which
officially remains in effect.

Throughout the 1990s, Clinton presided over continuous economic expansion
(which, according to the Clinton administration's Office of Management and
Budget, began in April 1991), reductions in unemployment, and growing wealth
through the massive rise in the stock market. Clinton's role in promoting
this prosperity is a matter of considerable debate: some substantial credit
can be apportioned to groups such as the Congress and Federal Reserve head
Alan Greenspan, whom he renominated, as well as the congruence of
technological and global economic conditions which had little to do with Clinton.

As president, Clinton was characterized as being a much more "hands on"
president than some of his Republican predecessors. While Bush and Reagan
had operated under what some critics dubbed an Imperial Presidency of
bureaucratic "courtiers," Clinton had much more fickle relationships with
his aides, and did not delegate them significant powers. He went through
four White House Chiefs of Staff- a record amount of men in the position
that had once been the epicenter of the Imperial Presidency. This is not to
say that Clinton was without political confidants in the White House. The
First Lady played an active role in helping the President form policy, and
Clinton's two best friends and most loyal supporters, Paul Begala and James
Carville could often be seen defending the President's policies in
Washington and on the media.

After two years of Democratic party control under the leadership of
President Clinton, the mid-term elections in 1994 proved disastrous for the
Democrats. They lost control of both houses of Congress for the first time
in 40 years, in large part due to a failed attempt to create a comprehensive
health care system under a plan developed by the First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

After the 1994 election, the spotlight shifted to the "Contract with
America" spearheaded by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The
Republican-controlled Congress and President Clinton sparred over the
budget, resulting in a series of government shutdowns at a political penalty
to the G.O.P. In the 1996 election, Clinton won re-election by a healthy
margin over Republican Bob Dole, while the Republicans retained control of
the Congress but lost a few seats.

Clinton developed a close working relationship with Tony Blair, the Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom, when he was elected in 1997.

He took a personal interest in The Troubles in Northern Ireland and paid
three visits there while he was president in order to encourage peace. This
helped both sides in the divided community there to begin to talk, setting
in motion the process that lead to the Provisional Irish Republican Army
commencing disarmament on October 23, 2001.

In 1999, in conjunction with a Congress controlled by the Republican Party
he balanced the US budget for the first time since 1969.

Bill and Hillary have one daughter, Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea spent her
latter teenage years in the White House, before moving away to study at
Stanford University.

Public Image and Personality

As the first Baby Boomer president, Bill Clinton was seen during his
presidency and during his candidacy as quite a break from the presidents of
the Greatest Generation and previous generations who had come before him. He
was discussed upon his breaking onto the political horizon as a remarkably
informal president in a "common man" kind of way, with his frequent
patronage of McDonald's becoming a popular symbol of this image. With his
sound-bite rhetoric and pioneering use of pop culture in his campaigning,
Clinton was declared, often negatively, as the "MTV president". This
designation followed Clinton's MTV appearance during his campaign. Although
he was able to win Generation X voters in the 1992 election, with the
highest Gen-X turnout ever, this appearance was widely criticized for
flashiness and lack of substance, and with doubts about how questions
directed to him like "Boxers or briefs?" reflected his audience's interest
in his platform. Toni Morrison dubbed Clinton "the first Black president",
inspired by his image as the 1990s version of the "average guy", his
administration's sensitivity towards environmental issues, and his
experience with dealing with oppression on the struggling side of the
Culture Wars during the 1960s.

Conservatives were put off by Bill Clinton's having been a hippie during his
coming-of-age era. He did not receive support from people who viewed him as
a cowardly draft-dodger. Clinton had avoided the draft because he was
studying abroad during the Vietnam War, where he had smoked marijuana
(albeit without inhaling) and listened to a lot of rock-and-roll (which
would later lead to his requiring a hearing aid). Although he had settled
down when he got older, called for curfews and uniforms in public schools
and other measures opposed by youth rights supporters, and expanded the War
on Drugs greatly while in office, Clinton was unable to wash his youthful
reputation from his opponent's minds.

Compounded with Clinton's 1960s past was his reputation for a liking of
women, which further increased the fears of those who viewed him as a creepy
hedonist. Rumors about Clinton's adultery were floating about, and these
surfaced and increased with Paula Jones' accusations of sexual harassment.
After allegations had linked him to Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and
Katherine Willey, Clinton's sex life would become the focus of his public
image when in January 1998 recorded conversations by Linda Tripp contained
statements by White House intern Monica Lewinsky about having oral sex. From
then on, Clinton would be the subject of endless gags and satires portraying
him as a sex-hungry man who couldn't keep his zipper zipped.

Clinton is often referred to by the nickname "Bubba". Other nicknames in
common use for the forty-second president include "Slick Willy", from his
sexual escapades, and "Big Dog", portraying him as a large, lusty drooling
hound. Clinton detractors from all parts of the political spectrum often
refer to him as "Klinton", respelling his name with a K to evoke German
orthography (e.g. Das Kapital), placing him in the same class as the Nazis
(see Godwin's Law).


Much of Clinton's presidency was overshadowed by numerous scandals,
including the Kenneth-Starr-led Whitewater investigation. Originally dealing
with a failed land deal years earlier, Starr's investigation eventually
expanded to include the suicide of his friend Vince Foster, an alleged
sexual encounter with a woman named Paula Jones (who later admitted to
taking money from conservative political groups, but received a settlement
from Clinton), "Troopergate"- in which an Arkansas State Trooper claimed to
have arranged sexual encounters for then Governor Clinton (claims the State
Trooper later recanted among admissions he had taken money from the
conservative tabloid "American Spectator") and his sexual encounters with
Monica Lewinsky. Starr's successor, Robert Ray, declined to prosecute the
Clintons on all the charges.

Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998 by the House of Representatives
on grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice, becoming the first elected
U.S. President to be impeached (and the second since Andrew Johnson). The
Senate, however, in a trial that started on January 7, 1999, voted not to
convict Clinton of the charges on February 12, allowing Clinton to stay in
office for the remainder of his second term. The impeachment cited abuse of
powers and for perjury -- lying under oath to a grand jury regarding matters
related to his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky (uncovered by an
investigation into the unrelated Whitewater scandal).

The perjury charge was defeated with 55 "not guilty" votes and 45 "guilty"
votes. On the obstruction of justice article, the chamber was evenly split,
50-50. Despite considerable protestations by Senators that they were
performing an impartial trial purely on the basis of the evidence, it is
notable that both votes were essentially along party lines. A two-thirds
majority, 67 votes, is necessary to convict the President on impeachment charges.

Clinton was charged with lying under oath about his affair with Lewinsky to
gain advantage in a sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones, a case he
later settled paying Paula Jones $850,000. A Federal judge found Clinton
also to be in contempt of court for lying in a deposition and ordered him to
pay a $90,000 fine. This contempt citation led to disbarment proceedings
similar to Richard Nixon's. To avoid these Clinton surrendered his law


Clinton gave 140 pardons his last day of office. Although it is common for
Presidents to grant a number of pardons before leaving office, as the
details of Clinton's pardons unfolded (some given to campaign contributors,
one to a cocaine trafficker, and one to fugitive Marc Rich) he was subject
to severe and lingering criticism.


Clinton presided over the period of longest steady growth of the economy in
modern American history. However, his active role in this development is
debatable. Moreover, when the stockmarket crashed in 2000, much of this
growth was destroyed; it had been largely based on rising stockmarket
valuations, not genuine productive capacity.

Clinton is seen as having led — in conjuction with the Democratic
Leadership Council (DLC) — the Democratic Party from the left, towards
a more moderate centrist position. During the 1990s, the Party was accused
of abandoning its traditional base of support (unions, the working class,
minorities) in pursuit of a center-right position, responding — and
funded by — corporate contributors. The current quandary of the
Democratic party is primarily due to its inability to define itself
vis--vis the Republican Party and offer a clear alternative. Clinton was
able to surmount this problem through sheer personal charisma, but his
successors have been less successful.


   * Secretary of State - Warren Christopher (1993-1997), Madeleine Albright
   * Secretary of Defense - Les Aspin (1993-1994), William Perry
     (1994-1997), William Cohen (1997-2001)
   * Secretary of the Treasury - Lloyd Bentsen (1993-1994), Robert Rubin
     (1995-1999), Lawrence Summers (1999-2001)
   * Attorney General - Janet Reno
   * Secretary of the Interior - Bruce Babbitt
   * Secretary of Agriculture - Mike Espy (1993-1994), Dan Glickman
   * Secretary of Commerce - Ronald Brown (1993-1996), Mickey Kantor
     (1996-1997), William Daley (1997-2000), Norman Mineta (2001)
   * Secretary of Labor - Robert Reich (1993-1997), Alexis Herman
   * Secretary of Health and Human Services - Donna Shalala
   * Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Henry Cisneros
     (1993-1997), Andrew Cuomo (1997-2001)
   * Secretary of Transportation - Federico Pea (1993-1997), Rodney Slater
   * Secretary of Energy - Hazel O'Leary (1993-1997), Federico Pea
     (1997-1998), Bill Richardson (1998-2001)
   * Secretary of Education - Richard Riley
   * Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Jesse Brown (1993-1997), Togo West
     (1998-2000), Hershel Gober (2000-2001)

Major legislation signed

   * Creation of the Americorps volunteer program
   * 1994 Crime Bill Expansion - as part of an omnibus crime bill, the
     federal death penalty was expanded to some 60 different offenses
   * On March 14, 1996 he authorized a $100 million anti-terrorism agreement
     with Israel to track down and root out terrorists.
   * Brady bill
   * Telecom bill, which eliminated major ownership restrictions for radio
     and television groups.
   * Communications Decency Act
   * Welfare Reform (signed after vetoing it twice before)
   * NAFTA
   * Minimum wage increase
   * Digital Millennium Copyright Act
   * Defense of marriage act, allowed states the power to refuse to
     recognize gay marriages granted in other states, among other things

Major legislation vetoed

   * Republican 1996 national budget (leading to a temporary government
   * H.R. 1833, partial birth abortion ban
   * Twice vetoed Welfare Reform before signing the identical act. ( An act
     which radically decreased welfare rolls. )

Supreme Court appointments

   * Ruth Bader Ginsburg - 1993
   * Stephen Breyer - 1994

Major legislation he failed to get passed through Congress

   * Healthcare Reform - appointed a committee headed by Hillary Rodham
     Clinton to come up with a universal health care plan. Complexity, poor
     design, and resistance from the insurance and the medical establishment
     resulted in lack of support and it failed to get a single vote.


   * Social Security Reform - appointed a committee on Social Security
     Reform and then dismissed their recommendations without ever proposing
   * Tried to get Ehud Barak of Israel and Yasser Arafat, President of the
     Palestinian Council to agree to a final settlement agreement.
   * Initiated the Don't ask, don't tell policy toward gays in the military,


   * April 19, 1993 - government siege on the Branch Davidian compound at
     Waco, Texas results in the death of 80 people - Republicans blame
     Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, rather than cult leader David
   * July 20, 1993 - Clinton friend and confidant Vince Foster commits
     suicide during the height of the Whitewater investigation
   * October 3, 1993 - Battle of Mogadishu - Ranger Units receive heavy
     casualies in Somalia. Military disgruntled because it was denied the
     hardware it thought essential to the operation.
   * January 14 ???? - Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the
     Kremlin accords which stop the preprogrammed aiming of nuclear missiles
     to targets and also provide for the dismantling of the nuclear arsenal
     in the Ukraine.
   * April 19, 1995 - Oklahoma City bombing - Bombing of federal building in
     Oklahoma City, Oklahoma results in the death of 168 people
   * November 14, 1995 - Budget negotiations between Congress and the
     President break down, resulting in temporary shutdown of U.S. Federal
     Government. Shutdowns (partial and full) continue through January,
   * December, 1995 - Clinton organizes the Dayton Peace Accords at
     Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, temporarily bringing a cease
     fire to the Balkan States
   * December, 1995 - Clinton visits Ireland, leading to the establishment
     of an International Commission, chaired by former U.S. Senator George
   * November, 1996 - Clinton is re-elected, defeating Republican challenger
     Bob Dole
   * October, 1997 - Visit by President of the People's Republic of China
     Jiang Zemin to the White House
   * August, 1998 - Clinton orders cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan and
     suspected chemical weapons factory in Sudan
   * December 19, 1998 - Clinton impeached by the House of Representatives
     on grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice
   * January 7, 1999 - The Senate starts nationally televised trial of
   * February 12, 1999 - Clinton acquitted of charges.
   * March 24 to June 10, 1999 - NATO bombs Kosovo and Serbia (Kosovo War)
   * May 7, 1999 - US planes accidently bomb People's Republic of China
     embassy in Belgrade (Kosovo War)
   * June, 1999 - Serbia withdraws from Kosovo (Kosovo War)
   * October 5, 2000 - The defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in earlier elections
     leads to mass demonstrations in Belgrade and ultimate collapse of the
     regime's authority. Opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica took office as
     Yugoslav president on October 6.
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