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Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Order:42nd President
Term of Office:January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001
Predecessor:George H. W. Bush
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
Vice President:Albert Gore, Jr.

William Jefferson Clinton (born August 19, 1946) was the 42nd (1993-2001) President of the United States. He was the second President in US history to be impeached in the House and acquitted in the Senate.

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

Table of contents
1 Cabinet
2 Major legislation signed
3 Major legislation vetoed
4 Supreme Court appointments
5 Major legislation he failed to get passed through Congress
6 Initiatives
7 Timeline
8 Related articles
9 External links


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. 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 found 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 license.


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 pardon's 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 clearly to the right. During the 1990s, the Party largely abandoned 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 Democrats is primarily due to its inability to define itself viz a viz the Republican Party and off a clear alternative. Clinton was able to surmount this problem through sheer personal charisma, but his successors have been less successful.


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)
  • 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 shutdown)
  • 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

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 legislation.
  • 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, 1993.


Related articles

External links

Preceded by:
George H. W. Bush
Presidents of the United States Succeeded by:
George W. Bush

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