William Jefferson Clinton
Bill Clinton.jpg

In office
January 20 1993 – January 20 2001
Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by George W. Bush

In office
January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
Lieutenant Winston Bryant (1983-1991)
Jim Guy Tucker (1991-1992)
Preceded by Frank D. White
Succeeded by Jim Guy Tucker

In office
January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981
Lieutenant Joe Purcell
Preceded by Joe Purcell
Succeeded by Frank D. White

In office
Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker
Succeeded by Steve Clark

Born August 19 1946 (1946-08-19) (age 71)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Hillary Rodham Clinton
Children Chelsea Clinton
Alma mater Georgetown University
University College, Oxford
Yale Law School
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Baptist
Signature Bill Clinton signature2.png

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19 1946) was the forty-second President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. Before his presidency, Clinton served nearly twelve years as the 50th and 52nd Governor of Arkansas. He was the third-youngest person to serve as president, behind Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He took over the presidency at the end of the Cold War, and is known as the first baby boomer president.[2]

Clinton was described as a New Democrat politician and was mainly responsible for the Third Way philosophy of governance that came to epitomize his two terms as president.[3] His policies, on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, have been described as "centrist."[4] [5] Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history, which included a balanced budget and a federal surplus.[6][7] His presidency was also quickly challenged. On the heels of a failed attempt at health care reform with a Democratic Congress, Republicans won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.[8] In his second term he was impeached by the U.S. House [9], but was subsequently acquitted by the United States Senate and remained in office to complete his term.[10]

Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating, the highest end-of-presidency rating of any President that came into office after World War II. However, public reaction to the Lewinsky scandal left a mixed impression about his personal character. ABC News chracterized public consensus on Clinton as, "You can't trust him, he's got weak morals and ethics — and he's done a heck of a good job."[11] Since leaving office, Clinton has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. He created the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote and address international causes, such as treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and global warming. In 2004, he released a personal autobiography, My Life. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the Junior United States Senator from the state of New York, where they both currently reside, and a Democratic candidate for the 2008 presidential election.


Early life and education Edit

William Jefferson Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III in Hope, Arkansas, and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His father was William Jefferson Blythe, a traveling salesman, who died in a car accident three months prior to the birth of his son.[1] In 1950, his mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923-1994), married Roger Clinton, a partner with his brother in an automobile dealership.[12]

File:William Jefferson Blythe 1950.jpg

It was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned 14 that he formally adopted his stepfather's surname of Clinton, although he had assumed use of it prior to that. Clinton has claimed that he remembers his stepfather as a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and, at times, his half-brother, Roger, Jr.[12][13]

In Hot Springs, Clinton attended St. John's Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School - where he was an active student leader, avid reader, and musician.[14] He was in the chorus and played the saxophone, winning first chair in the state band's saxophone section. He briefly considered dedicating his life to music, but as he noted in his autobiography My Life:

(…) Sometime in my sixteenth year I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service.[15]

In 1963, two influential moments in Clinton's early life contributed to his decision to become a public figure. One was his visit to the White House to meet President John F. Kennedy, as a Boys Nation senator.[12][13] The other was listening to Martin Luther King's 1963 I Have a Dream speech (which he memorized).[16]

Clinton at Georgetown 1967

Clinton attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., receiving a degree in 1968, during which he ran for President of the Student Council.

Clinton was also a member of Youth Order of DeMolay, but he never actually became a Freemason.[17] He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi's National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. With the aid of scholarships, Clinton attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.F.S.) degree in 1968. It was at Georgetown that he interned for Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.[12] While in college he became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[18]

Upon graduation he won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College where he studied government.[13] He developed an interest in rugby, playing at Oxford and later for the Little Rock Rugby club in Arkansas. While at Oxford he also participated in Vietnam War protests, including organizing an October 1969 Moratorium event.[12] In later life he admitted to smoking cannabis at the university, but claimed that he "never inhaled".[13]

After Oxford, Clinton attended Yale Law School and obtained a Juris Doctor degree in 1973.[13] While at Yale, he began dating law student Hillary Rodham who was a year ahead of him. They married in 1975 and their only child, Chelsea, was born in 1980.

Early political career Edit

Governor of ArkansasEdit

After graduating from Yale Law School, Clinton returned to Arkansas and became a University of Arkansas law professor. A year later, in 1974, he ran for the House of Representatives. The incumbent, John Paul Hammerschmidt, defeated Clinton with 52% of the vote. In 1976, Clinton was elected Attorney General of Arkansas without opposition in the general election.[13]

Bill Clinton 1978

Clinton, as the newly elected Governor of Arkansas meeting with President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

In 1978, Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas for the first time; at 32, he was the youngest governor in the country. He worked on educational reform and the infrastructure of Arkansas's roads, but his first term also was fraught with difficulties, including an unpopular motor vehicle tax and citizens' anger over the escape of Cuban refugees (from the Mariel boatlift) detained in Fort Chaffee in 1980. A political maverick, Monroe Schwarzlose of Kingsland in Cleveland County, polled a surprising 31% of the vote against Clinton in the 1980 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Some suggested that Schwarzlose's unexpected voter turnout foreshadowed Clinton's defeat in the general election that year by Republican challenger Frank D. White. As Clinton once joked, he was the youngest ex-governor in the nation's history.[13]

In 1982, Clinton reclaimed his old job as governor and kept it for another 10 years, helping Arkansas transform its economy and significantly improving the state's educational system. He became a leading figure among the New Democrats.[19] The New Democrats, organized within the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) were a branch of the Democratic Party that called for welfare reform and smaller government, a policy supported by both Democrats and Republicans. He served as Chair of the National Governors Association from 1986 to 1987, bringing him to an audience beyond Arkansas.[13]

Clinton made economic growth, job creation and educational improvement high priorities of his administration. He removed the sales tax from medicine for senior citizens and increased the home property tax exemption for the elderly. Clinton was also responsible for some state educational improvement programs, notably more spending for schools, rising opportunities for gifted children, an increase in vocational education, and raising of teachers' salaries.[13][19]

Clinton's approach answered conservative criticism during his terms as governor, but personal and business transactions made by the Clintons during this period became the basis of the Whitewater investigation, which dogged his later presidential administration.[20] After very extensive investigation over several years, no indictments were made against the Clintons related to the years in Arkansas.[13][21]

Campaign for the Democratic nominationEdit

There was some media speculation in 1987 that Clinton would enter the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination after then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo declined to run and Democratic front-runner Gary Hart left the nomination owing to revelations about marital infidelity. Then often called the "Boy Governor" because of his youthful appearance, Clinton decided to remain as Arkansas governor and postpone his presidential ambitions until 1992.[13] Clinton then endorsed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis for the nomination. He did, however, give the opening night address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, a nationally-televised speech that introduced him to the American public, but was criticized for its length. Presenting himself as a moderate and a member of the New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, he headed the moderate Democratic Leadership Council in 1990 and 1991.[19]

In 1992, Clinton was the early favorite of the Democratic Party for the presidential nomination and was able to garner the support of many superdelegates even before the first nominating contests were conducted.[13] However, Clinton's presidential bid ran into difficulty in the opening weeks. First he finished well behind in the Iowa caucus, which was largely uncontested due to the presence of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who subsequently won. Secondly the campaign encountered difficulty when, during the New Hampshire Primary campaign, revelations of a possible extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers began to surface. Clinton and his wife Hillary decided to go on 60 Minutes following the Super Bowl to refute these charges of infidelity, as Clinton had fallen far behind former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas in the New Hampshire polls.[13]

Their television appearance was a calculated risk, but it seemed to pay off as Clinton regained several delegates. He finished second to Tsongas in the New Hampshire primary, but the media viewed it as a moral victory for Clinton, since he came within single digits of winning after trailing badly in the polls. Clinton shrewdly labeled himself "The Comeback Kid" on election night to help foster this perception and came out of New Hampshire as the leader by a large percentage. Tsongas, on the other hand, picked up little or no momentum from his victory.[13]

Clinton used his new-found momentum to win many of the Democratic Southern primaries, including the big prizes of Florida and Texas, and build up a sizable delegate lead over his opponents in the race for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. However, there were still some doubts whether he could secure the nomination, as former California Governor Jerry Brown was scoring victories elsewhere and Clinton had yet to win a significant contest outside of his native South.[13][22]

With no major Southern state remaining on the primary calendar, Clinton targeted the New York primary, which contained a large number of delegates and was to be his proving ground. He scored a resounding victory in New York City. He finally shed his image as a regional candidate.[22] Having been transformed into the consensus candidate, he secured the Democratic Party nomination, finishing with a victory in Jerry Brown's home state of California.[13]

Presidential ElectionEdit


Bill Clinton with H. Ross Perot, Independent, and George H.W. Bush, Republican, in a national debate.

Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.0% of the vote) against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush (37.4% of the vote) and billionaire populist H. Ross Perot, who ran as an independent (18.9% of the vote) on a platform focusing on domestic issues; a large part of his success was Bush's steep decline in public approval. Previously described as "unbeatable" because his approval ratings were in the 80% range during the Persian Gulf conflict, Bush saw his public approval rating drop to just over 40% by election time because of a souring economy.[22]

Additionally, Bush reneged on his promise not to raise taxes when he compromised with Democrats in an attempt to lower the Federal deficits; this hurt his approval rating among conservatives. Clinton capitalized on Bush's policy switch, repeatedly condemning the president for making a promise he failed to keep.[22]

Finally, Bush's party base was in disarray. Conservatives had previously been united by anti-communism, but with the end of the Cold War, new issues would have to emerge. The 1992 Republican National Convention was perceived by some moderate voters to have been uninspiring and usurped by religious conservatives.[23]

His election ended an era of Republican rule of the White House for the previous 12 years, and 20 of the previous 24 years. The election also gave the Democrats full control of both branches of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Clinton was the first president to enjoy this privilege since Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

Standing over 6'2.5" tall (1.88 m), Clinton was one of the tallest U.S. Presidents in the nation's history.[24][25]

Presidency, 1993–2001Edit

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The Clinton Cabinet
Office Name Term
President Bill Clinton1993–2001
Vice President Al Gore1993–2001
Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher1993–1997
Madeleine K. Albright1997–2001
Secretary of Treasury Lloyd Bentsen1993–1994
Robert E. Rubin1995–1999Lawrence H. Summers1999–2001
Secretary of Defense Les Aspin1993–1994
William J. Perry1994–1997William S. Cohen1997–2001
Attorney General Janet Reno1993–2001
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt1993–2001
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy1993–1994
Daniel R. Glickman1994–2001
Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown1993–1996
Mickey Kantor1996–1997William M. Daley1997–2000Norman Y. Mineta2000–2001
Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich1993–1997
Alexis M. Herman1997–2001
Secretary of Health and
Human Services
Donna E. Shalala1993–2001
Secretary of Education Richard Riley1993–2001
Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development
Henry G. Cisneros1993–1997
Andrew Cuomo1997–2001
Secretary of Transportation Federico F. Peña1993–1997
Rodney E. Slater1997–2001
Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary1993–1997
Federico F. Peña1997–1998Bill Richardson1998–2001
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown1993–1997
Togo D. West1998–2000

First term, 1993–1997Edit

Clinton was inaugurated on January 20, 1993 as the 42nd President of the United States. In his inaugural address he declared that:

Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.[26]

Shortly after taking office, Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which required large employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave because of pregnancy or a serious medical condition. While this action was popular, Clinton's attempt to fulfill another campaign promise of allowing openly homosexual men and women to serve in the armed forces was the subject of criticism. His handling of the issue garnered criticism from the left (for being too tentative in promoting gay rights) and the right (for being too insensitive to military life). After much debate, Congress implemented the "Don't Ask" policy, stating that homosexual men and women may serve in the military as long as their sexuality is kept secret. Later in his presidency, in 1999, Clinton said he did not "think any serious person could say" that the way the policy was being implemented was not "out of whack".[27]

The Clinton-Gore administration launched the first official White House website on 21 October, 1994.[28][29] It was followed by three more versions, resulting in the final edition launched in 2000.[30][31] The White House website was part of a wider movement of the Clinton administration toward web-based communication. According to Robert Longley, "Clinton and Gore were responsible for pressing almost all federal agencies, the U.S. court system and the U.S. military onto the Internet, thus opening up America's government to more of America's citizens than ever before. On 17 July 1996, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13011 - Federal Information Technology, ordering the heads of all federal agencies to fully utilize information technology to make the information of the agency easily accessible to the public."[32]


Also in 1993, Clinton promoted another controversial issue during this period regarding free trade when he supported the North American Free Trade Agreement for ratification by the U.S. Senate. Clinton, along with most of his Democratic Leadership Committee allies, strongly supported free trade measures. Opposition came from anti-trade Republicans, protectionist Democrats and supporters of Ross Perot. However, despite this opposition, the treaty was ratified by the Senate and signed into law by the President on 1 January 1994.[33]

Clinton signed the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases. He also expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, a subsidy for low income workers.[21]

One of the most prominent items on Clinton's legislative agenda was a health care reform plan, the result of a taskforce headed by Hillary Clinton, aimed at achieving universal coverage via a national healthcare plan. Though initially well-received in political circles, it was ultimately doomed by well-organized opposition from conservatives, the American Medical Association, and the health insurance industry. However, John F. Harris, a biographer of Clinton's, states that the program failed because of a lack of co-ordination within the White House.[21] Despite his party holding a majority in the House and Senate, the effort to create a national healthcare system ultimately died under heavy public pressure. It was the first major legislative defeat of Clinton's administration.[19][21]

Two months later, after two years of Democratic Party control under Clinton's leadership, the mid-term elections in 1994 proved disastrous for the Democrats. This was the first time the Democratic Party had lost control of both houses of Congress in 40 years.

In August 1993, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers,[34] while cutting taxes for 15 million low-income families and making tax cuts available to 90% of small businesses.[35] Additionally, it mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years, through the implementation of spending restraints.

Second term, 1997–2001Edit

In the 1996 presidential election, Clinton was re-elected, receiving 49.2% of the popular vote over Republican Bob Dole (40.7% of the popular vote) and Reform candidate Ross Perot (8.4% of the popular vote), becoming the first Democrat to win reelection to the presidency since Franklin Roosevelt. The Republicans lost a few seats in the House and gained a few in the Senate, but overall retained control of the Congress. Clinton received 379, or over 70% of the Electoral College votes, with Dole receiving 159 electoral votes.

On January 21, 1998, a controversy was raised by the media and prominent Republicans[36] over Clinton's relationship with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, resulting in the Lewinsky scandal.[21] In a lame duck session after the 1998 elections, the Republican-controlled House voted to impeach Clinton for matters related to the scandal. The Republican-controlled Senate then voted to acquit Clinton the following year, and he remained in office to complete his term.[37]

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, enacted by Clinton on October 21, 1998, served as the first significant amendment to the Copyright Act since 1976. The DMCA extended the protection of intellectual property to outlaw reverse engineering of digital protection. It also provided a framework for sound recording copyright owners and recording artists to seek public performance royalties under statute, which proved to be a landmark achievement for the recording industry.[38]

The Elián González affair took prominent stage during early 2000. The boy survived a boat wreck as his family fled from Cuba, but his mother died, setting off an international legal fight for where the boy should stay. Eventually the administration, via Janet Reno, had González forcefully obtained and returned to Cuba.

Two notable military events occurred during Clinton's second term. The first was Operation Desert Fox, a bombing campaign designed to weaken Saddam Hussein's grip on power over Iraq. The four-day campaign lasted from December 16 to December 19, 1998. It began after Clinton signed H.R. 4655 into law on October 31, 1998, which instituted a policy of "regime change" against Iraq, though it explicitly stated that it did not speak to the use of American military forces.[39][40] The law was signed months after his State of the Union Address to Congress where Clinton warned Congress of Saddam Hussein's pursuit of nuclear weapons:

"Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation's wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The United Nations weapons inspectors have done a truly remarkable job, finding and destroying more of Iraq's arsenal than was destroyed during the entire gulf war. Now, Saddam Hussein wants to stop them from completing their mission. I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, "You cannot defy the will of the world," and when I say to him, "You have used weapons of mass destruction before; we are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.[41]</blockquote>

The second was Operation Allied Force, a 1999 NATO bombing campaign against the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Clinton authorized the use of American troops in the mission to stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide[42][43] of Albanians at the hands of the nationalist Serbians. General Wesley Clark was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO at the time and oversaw the mission. The bombing campaign ended on June 10, 1999, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted that same day, placing Kosovo under U.N. administration and authorizing a peacekeeping force.[44] NATO claimed to have suffered zero deaths in combat,[45] and two deaths total from an Apache helicopter crash.[46] Pre-war genocide claims by Clinton and his administration have been criticized and discredited as greatly exaggerated.[47][48] A U.N. Court ruled that genocide did not take place, although it did recognize, "a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments".[49] The term "ethnic cleansing" was used as an alternative to "genocide" to denote not just ethnically motivated murder but also displacement, though critics charge there is no difference.[50] Slobodan Milošević, the President of Serbia at the time, was eventually charged with the "murders of about 600 individually identified ethnic Albanians" and "crimes against humanity".[51]

In the closing year of his administration, Clinton attempted to address the Arab-Israeli conflict. After initial successes such as the Oslo accords of the early-1990s, the situation had quietly deteriorated, breaking down completely with the start of the Second Intifada. Clinton brought Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat together at Camp David.[21] However, Barak and Arafat could not find common ground, and the negotiations were ultimately unsuccessful.[21]

In November 2000, Clinton became the first president to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.[52]

Legislation and programsEdit

Major legislation signed

Major legislation vetoed

Proposals not passed by Congress


Supreme Court appointmentsEdit

Clinton appointed the following justices to the Supreme Court:

Public approval Edit

Clinton approval rating

Clinton's approval ratings throughout his presidential career

While Clinton's job approval rating varied over the course of his first term, ranging from a low of 36% in mid-1993 to a high of 64% in late-1993 and early-1994,[54] his job approval rating consistently ranged from the high-50s to the high-60s in his second term.[55] Clinton's approval rating reached its highest point at 73% approval in the aftermath of the impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999.[56]

A CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup poll conducted as he was leaving office, revealed deeply contradictory attitudes regarding Clinton.[57]

In recent public rankings of American presidents, Bill Clinton ranked highly. The Gallup Organization published a poll in February 2007 that asked respondents to name the greatest president in U.S. history; Clinton came in fourth place, capturing 13% of the vote. In a 2006 Quinnipiac University poll that asked respondents to name the best president since World War II, Clinton ranked second with 25% of the vote, 3% behind Ronald Reagan. However, in the same poll, when respondents were asked to name the worst president since World War II, Clinton came in third with 16% of the vote, 1% behind Nixon and 18% behind George W. Bush. [58]

In May 2006, a CNN poll comparing Clinton's job performance with that of his successor, George W. Bush, found that a strong majority of respondents said Clinton outperformed Bush in six different areas questioned.[59]

Public image Edit


Clinton reading with a child in Chicago, September, 1998.

As the first Baby Boomer president, Clinton was the first president in a half-century not to have been shaped by World War II. The public image of Clinton was important throughout his presidency and his innovative use of soundbite-ready dialogue, personal charisma, and public perception-oriented campaigning is stated by authors Martin Walker and Bob Woodward as one of the major reasons for his high public approval ratings.[60][61] With his pioneering use of pop culture in his campaigning, such as playing the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show, Clinton was sometimes described by religious conservatives as "the MTV president".[62]

Clinton was also very popular among African Americans and made improving race relations a major theme of his presidency.[63]

In 1998, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison called Clinton "the first Black president," saying "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas," and comparing Clinton's sex life, scrutinized despite his career accomplishments, to the stereotyping and double standards that blacks typically endure.[64]

Post-presidential career Edit

Public speaking and campaigningEdit


Hillary Clinton re-enacts being sworn in as a U.S. Senator by Vice President Gore as Bill and Chelsea Clinton observe.

Clinton has engaged in a career as a public speaker on a variety of issues. In his speaking engagements around the world, he continues to comment on aspects of contemporary politics.[65][66]

After the Clintons had moved to Chappaqua, in the northern suburbs of New York City, at the end of his Presidency, he assisted his wife, Hillary Clinton, in her campaign for office as Senator from New York.[67]

On July 26, 2004, Clinton spoke for the fifth consecutive time to the Democratic National Convention, using the opportunity to praise candidate John Kerry. In it, he criticized President George W. Bush's depiction of Kerry, saying that "strength and wisdom are not opposing values." Unfortunately for Kerry, despite Clinton's strong speech, the post-convention bounce to his poll numbers was less than was hoped for.[68]

Clinton has given dozens of paid speeches each year since leaving office, mostly to corporations and philanthropic groups in North America and Europe, earning sums from $100,000 to $300,000 per speech.[69] He earned more than $30 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2005, according to his wife’s Senate ethics reports.[70] In 2007, it is now estimated that he has amassed around $40 million (£20 million) from speaking fees.[71]

Clinton is currently active supporting his wife Hillary Clinton as a Democratic candidate for the Presidential election of 2008. He has helped make public speeches supporting his wife and engaged in efforts to help raise funds for her campaign.[72][73][74]

William J. Clinton Presidential CenterEdit

Clinton dedicated his presidential library, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, which has the largest archives of any presidential library, in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 18, 2004.[75] Under rainy skies, Clinton received words of praise from former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, as well as from the current president, George W. Bush. He was also treated to a musical rendition from Bono and The Edge from U2, who expressed their gratitude at Clinton's efforts to resolve the Northern Ireland conflict during his presidency.[76]

My LifeEdit

In 2004, Clinton released a personal autobiography, My Life. The book was published by the Knopf Publishing Group at Random House on June 22, 2004, and set a worldwide record for single day non-fiction book sales according to the publisher.[77] Later released as an audio book, total sales were in excess of 400,000 copies. He received U.S. $12 million in advance as a writer's fee.[78]

In September 2007, he released a second book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, which also became a bestseller.[79]

William Clinton FoundationEdit

The William J. Clinton Foundation promotes and provides for a number of humanitarian causes. Within the foundation, the Clinton Foundation HIV and AIDS Initiative (CHAI) strives to make treatment for HIV/AIDS more affordable and to implement large-scale integrated care, treatment, and prevention programs. While in Sydney to attend a Global Business Forum, Clinton signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of his presidential foundation with the Australian government to promote HIV/AIDS programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bush and Clinton

Clinton with former President George H. W. Bush in January 2005.

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), funded by the Clinton Foundation, was inaugurated September 15-September 17, 2005 in New York City to coincide with the 2005 World Summit. The focus areas of the initiative include attempts to address world problems such as global public health, poverty alleviation and religious and ethnic conflict.[80]

On May 3, 2005, Clinton announced through the William J. Clinton Foundation an agreement by major soft drink manufacturers to stop selling sugared sodas and juice drinks in public primary and secondary schools.[81]

Other humanitarian workEdit

Clinton has also engaged in humanitarian work in cooperation with fellow former-President George H. W. Bush, specifically in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami disaster and Hurricane Katrina. They were later awarded on October 5, 2006, the 2006 Philadelphia Liberty Medal for their work on the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and Bush-Clinton Tsunami Fund.[82] They also spoke together at the funeral of Boris Yeltsin.[83]

On January 3 2005, President George W. Bush named Clinton and George H. W. Bush to lead a nationwide campaign to help the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. On February 1, 2005, he was selected by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to head the United Nations earthquake and tsunami relief and reconstruction effort.[84]

Five days later, Clinton appeared with Bush on the Super Bowl XXXIX pre-game show on Fox in support of their bipartisan effort to raise money for relief of the disaster through the USA Freedom Corps, an action which Bush described as "transcending politics".[85] Thirteen days later, they traveled to the affected areas to see the relief efforts.[86]

On August 31, 2005, following the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Clinton again worked with George H. W. Bush to coordinate private relief donations, in a campaign similar to their earlier one in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.[87]

JPII on bier

Clinton, along with Pres. George W. Bush, Laura Bush, and Pres. George H. W. Bush pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.

In April 2007, Clinton made his first visit to new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The 45-minute meeting, called at Clinton's request, touched on a host of topics, including the continuing human tragedy in Africa, especially in the Darfur region. The Middle East, the conflict in Iraq, and Iran's nuclear standoff with the U.N. were also on the agenda, as well as the continuing HIV/AIDS crisis.[88]


On August 1, 2006, the William J. Clinton Foundation entered into a partnership with the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group to create the Clinton Foundation Climate Change Initiative (CCI), agreeing to provide resources to allow the participating cities to enter into an energy-saving product purchasing consortium and to provide technical and communications support.[89]

On December 9, 2005, speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, Clinton publicly criticized the Bush administration for its handling of emissions control. Further, Clinton twice visited the University of California in 2006 to promote initiatives concerning the environment. First, on August 1, 2006, he met with Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Gavin Newsom to advertise the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group. On October 13, 2006, he spoke in favor of California Proposition 87 on alternative energy, which was voted down.[90]

Personal healthEdit

On September 2, 2004, Clinton had an episode of angina and was evaluated at Northern Westchester Hospital. It was determined that he had not suffered a coronary infarction, and he was sent home, returning the following day for angiography, which disclosed multiple vessel coronary artery disease. He was transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, where he underwent a successful quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery on September 6, 2004. The medical team stated that, had he not had surgery, he would likely have suffered a massive heart attack within a few months.[91] On March 10, 2005, he underwent a follow-up surgery to remove scar tissue and fluid from his left chest cavity, a result of his open-heart surgery.[92] He has since recovered.

Honors and accolades Edit

In 1998, Clinton was awarded the First Class with Collar Chain of the Order of the White Lion from the President of the Czech Republic.[93]

Clinton pres library

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Little Rock.

In December 1999, Clinton was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th century, from a poll conducted of the American people.

Clinton received the 2000 International Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen (a prestigious European prize),[94] 2004 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for narrating the Russian National Orchestra's album Wolf Tracks and Peter and the Wolf (along with Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren) and 2005 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for My Life, 2005 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding,[95] and 2007 TED Prize (named for the confluence of technology, entertainment and design).[96]

On October 17, 2002, Clinton became the first white person to be inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.[97]

He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Tulane University in New Orleans (along with George H. W. Bush),[98] and also from the University of Michigan.[99] He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Pace University's Lubin School of Business,[100] from Rochester Institute of Technology,[101] and from Knox College.[102]

On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Clinton and the other living former presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System opened the Clinton School of Public Service on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center.[103]

On December 3, 2006, Clinton was made an honorary chief and Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu by Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Michael Somare. Clinton was awarded the honor for his "outstanding leadership for the good of mankind during two terms as U.S. president" and his commitment to the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other health challenges in developing countries.[104]

Billclinton 1

Clinton speaks at Knox College June 2, 2007.

On June 2, 2007, Clinton, along with former president George H. Bush, received the International Freedom Conductor Award, for their help with the fund raising following the tsunami that devastated South Asia in 2004.[105]

In Europe, Bill Clinton remains popular, especially in a large part of the Balkans and in Ireland. In Priština, Kosovo, a five-storey picture of the former president was permanently engraved into the side of the tallest building in the province as a token of gratitude for Clinton's support during the crisis in Kosovo.[106] A statue of Clinton was also built and a road was named Clinton Boulevard.

Controversies Edit

Impeachment and trial in the SenateEdit

In 1998, as a result of allegations that he had lied during grand jury testimony regarding his testimony during the Paula Jones civil deposition, Clinton was the second U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives (the other being Andrew Johnson). The House held no serious impeachment hearings before the 1998 mid-term elections. Though the mid-term elections held in November 1998 were at the 6-year point in an 8-year presidency (a time in the electoral cycle where the party holding the White House usually loses Congressional seats) the Democratic Party actually gained several seats.[21] The Republican leadership then called a lame duck session in December 1998 to hold impeachment proceedings.

Senate in session

The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presiding.

Although the House Judiciary Committee hearings were perfunctory and ended in a straight party line vote, the debate on the floor of the House was lively. The two charges that were passed in the House (largely on the basis of Republican support but with a handful of Democratic votes as well) were for perjury and obstruction of justice. The perjury charge arose from Clinton's testimony about his relationship to Monica Lewinsky during a sexual harassment lawsuit (later dismissed, appealed and settled for $850,000)[107] brought by former Arkansas-state employee Paula Jones. The obstruction charge was based on his actions during the subsequent investigation of that testimony. The Senate later voted to acquit Clinton on both charges.[108] The Senate refused to convene to hold an impeachment trial before the end of the old term, so the trial was held over until the next Congress. Clinton was represented by Washington law firm Williams & Connolly.

On February 12, 1999, the Senate concluded a 21-day trial with the vote on both counts falling short of the Constitutional requirement of a two-thirds majority to convict and remove an office holder. The final vote was generally along party lines, with no Democrats voting guilty, although for both charges some Republicans voted not guilty. On the perjury charge 55 senators voted to acquit, including 10 Republicans, and 45 voted to convict; on the obstruction charge the Senate voted 50-50.[109] Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, being the only two American presidents to be impeached, both served the remainder of their terms.


In a separate case, Clinton was disbarred from his Arkansas law license for five years and ordered to pay $25,000 in fines to that state's bar officials.[110] The agreement came on the condition that Whitewater prosecutors would not pursue federal perjury charges against him.[111] In October 2001, Clinton was suspended by the Supreme Court and, facing disbarment from the high court as well, Clinton resigned from the Supreme Court bar in November.[112]

Administrative controversyEdit

The White House travel office controversy began on May 19, 1993, when several longtime employees of the White House Travel Office were fired. A whistleblower's letter, written during the previous administration, triggered an FBI investigation, which revealed evidence of financial malfeasance. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the firings and could find no evidence of wrongdoing on the Clintons' part.[113]

The White House FBI files controversy of June 1996 arose around improper access to FBI security-clearance documents. Craig Livingstone, head of the White House Office of Personnel Security, improperly requested, and received from the FBI, background report files without asking permission of the subject individuals; many of these were employees of former Republican administrations. In March 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray determined that there was no credible evidence of any criminal activity. Ray's report further stated "there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official was involved" in seeking the files.[114][115]

Pardons and campaign financeEdit

On his last day in office (January 20, 2001), Clinton issued 141 pardons and 36 commutations.[21][116]

The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to influence the domestic policies of the United States, prior to and during the Clinton administration and also involved the fundraising practices of the administration itself.[117]

Sexual assault allegationEdit

Two claims of sexual misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton were alleged by Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick (referred to as Jane Doe #5 by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr), during the Clinton administration. Neither claim was proven in a court of law; neither claim ever resulted in charges being made. In the Willey case no charges were brought and with regard to a sexual allegation by Broaddrick, the Arkansas statute of limitations had long since expired, and Broaddrick's only sworn statement was a denial of the allegations she subsequently made.[118]

Clinton and the death penaltyEdit

Clinton’s 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill expanded the application of the federal death penalty, including to crimes not resulting in death such as running a large-scale drug enterprise. Clinton remarked enthusiastically during his re-election campaign, "My 1994 crime bill expanded the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons."[119]

While campaigning for U.S. President, Clinton returned to Arkansas to see that Ricky Ray Rector would be executed. Though Rector's IQ was not known, he was said to be profoundly retarded due to a lobotomy.

However, Clinton was the first President to pardon a death row inmate since the federal death penalty was reintroduced in 1988.[120]

See also Edit

References Edit

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  2. ^ Marc Sandalow, Clinton Era Marked by Scandal, Prosperity: 1st Baby Boomer in White House Changed Notions of Presidency, San Francisco Chronicle; January 14, 2001
  3. ^ Joe Klein, 'The Natural': The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton, 2003, ISBN 0-7679-1412-0
  4. ^ William Safire, "Essay; Looking Beyond Peace," New York Times, December 6, 1993.
  5. ^ Michael Duffy, "Secrets Of," Time Magazine, Nov 29, 1993.
  6. ^ -- April 2, 1999: The Longest Peacetime Expansion in History
  8. ^ H-net Online Book Review: Benjamin Ginsberg and Alan Stone, eds. Do Elections Matter. Third Edition. Armonk, N.Y. (1997)
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  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House, John F. Harris , 2005, ISBN 0-375-50847-3
  22. ^ a b c d The choice: how Clinton won, [[Bob Woodward|]],1996, ISBN 0-684-81308-4
  23. ^ {{cite web| last = Le Beau| first = Bryan| authorlink =| coauthors =| title = The Political Mobilization of the New Christian Right| work = | publisher = [[Creighton University|]]
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  39. ^ Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, H.R.4655, One Hundred Fifth Congress of United States of America at Second Session; Library of Congress
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  44. ^ Resolution 1244 adopted by the United Nations Security Council on June 10 1999.
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  105. ^
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Further reading Edit

Primary sourcesEdit

Popular booksEdit

Academic studiesEdit

  • Cohen; Jeffrey E. "The Polls: Change and Stability in Public Assessments of Personal Traits, Bill Clinton, 1993-99" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 31, 2001
  • Cronin, Thomas E. and Michael A. Genovese; "President Clinton and Character Questions" Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 28, 1998
  • Davis; John. "The Evolution of American Grand Strategy and the War on Terrorism: Clinton and Bush Perspectives" White House Studies, Vol. 3, 2003
  • Edwards; George C. "Bill Clinton and His Crisis of Governance" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998
  • Fisher; Patrick. "Clinton's Greatest Legislative Achievement? the Success of the 1993 Budget Reconciliation Bill" White House Studies, Vol. 1, 2001
  • Glad; Betty. "Evaluating Presidential Character" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998
  • Harris, John F. The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House. (2005) ISBN 0-375-50847-3, biography
  • William G. Hyland. Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (1999) ISBN 0-275-96396-9
  • Jewett, Aubrey W. and Marc D. Turetzky; " Stability and Change in President Clinton's Foreign Policy Beliefs, 1993-96" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998
  • Johnson, Fard. "Politics, Propaganda and Public Opinion: The Influence of Race and Class on the 1993 - 1994 Health Care Reform Debate." (2004). ISBN 1-4116-6345-4
  • Laham, Nicholas, A Lost Cause: Bill Clinton's Campaign for National Health Insurance (1996)
  • Lanoue, David J. and Craig F. Emmert; "Voting in the Glare of the Spotlight: Representatives' Votes on the Impeachment of President Clinton" Polity, Vol. 32, 1999
  • Livingston, C. Don, Kenneth A. Wink; "The Passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the U.S. House of Representatives: Presidential Leadership or Presidential Luck?" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997
  • Maurer; Paul J. "Media Feeding Frenzies: Press Behavior during Two Clinton Scandals" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999
  • Nie; Martin A. "'It's the Environment, Stupid!': Clinton and the Environment" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997
  • O'Connor; Brendon. "Policies, Principles, and Polls: Bill Clinton's Third Way Welfare Politics 1992-1996" The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 48, 2002
  • Poveda; Tony G. "Clinton, Crime, and the Justice Department" Social Justice, Vol. 21, 1994
  • Renshon; Stanley A. The Clinton Presidency: Campaigning, Governing, and the Psychology of Leadership Westview Press, 1995
  • Renshon; Stanley A. "The Polls: The Public's Response to the Clinton Scandals, Part 1: Inconsistent Theories, Contradictory Evidence" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, 2002
  • Rushefsky, Mark E. and Kant Patel. Politics, Power & Policy Making: The Case of Health Care Reform in the 1990s (1998) ISBN 1-56324-956-1
  • Schantz, Harvey L. Politics in an Era of Divided Government: Elections and Governance in the Second Clinton Administration (2001) ISBN 0-8153-3583-0
  • Wattenberg; Martin P. "The Democrats' Decline in the House during the Clinton Presidency: An Analysis of Partisan Swings" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999
  • Wattier; Mark J. "The Clinton Factor: The Effects of Clinton's Personal Image in 2000 Presidential Primaries and in the General Election" White House Studies, Vol. 4, 2004
  • Smithers, Luken J. "The Miracle Whip"

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