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Clinton, William Jefferson (1946 - )
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Bill Clinton


William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. Clinton served five terms as the Governor of Arkansas. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is presently the junior U.S. Senator from New York.

Generally regarded as a moderate and a member of the moderate New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, he headed the centrist Democratic Leadership Council in 1990 and 1991. During his tenure as president, his domestic priorities included efforts to create a universal healthcare system, to improve education, to restrict handgun sales, to balance the federal budget, to strengthen environmental regulations, to improve race relations, and to protect the jobs of workers during pregnancy or medical emergency.

His domestic agenda also included other themes such as reforming welfare programs, expanding the "War on Drugs", and increasing law enforcement funding. Internationally, his priorities included reducing trade barriers, preventing nuclear proliferation, and mediating the Northern Ireland peace process and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

Clinton was the third-youngest president, behind Theodore Roosevelt (the youngest) and John F. Kennedy (the youngest elected). He was the first baby boomer president and the first Democratic president to be re-elected since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. The Clinton/Gore ticket of 1992 was the youngest in history, with a combined age of 90 (Clinton was 46, Vice Presidential nominee Al Gore was 44).

Clinton was one of only two Presidents in American history to be impeached, and was acquitted by a vote of the United States Senate on February 12, 1999. In both runs for the Presidency of the USA, Clinton never received a majority of the popular vote, though he ended his Presidential career with a 65% approval rating, the highest end-of-term approval rating of any President in the post-Eisenhower era.

Early life
Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III; in Hope, Arkansas, and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., a traveling salesman who had been killed in an auto accident three months before his son was born. His mother, born Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923–1994), remarried in 1950 to Roger Clinton. Roger Clinton owned an automobile dealership business with his brother, Raymond Clinton.

The young Billy, as he was called, was raised by his mother and stepfather, assuming his last name "Clinton" throughout elementary school, but not formally changing it until he was 14. Clinton grew up in a traditional, albeit blended, family; however, according to Clinton, his stepfather was a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused Clinton's mother, and sometimes Clinton's half-brother Roger, Jr..

Clinton was a member of the Masonic Youth Order of DeMolay, but never became a Freemason.

Clinton was an excellent student and a talented saxophonist. He considered dedicating his life to music, but a visit to the White House of President John F. Kennedy, following his election as a Boys Nation Senator, led him to pursue a career in politics.

Clinton received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.F.S.) degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where he became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, worked for Senator J. William Fulbright, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, (University College) in England. While at Oxford he played rugby union as a lock, later in life he played for The Little Rock Rugby club in his home state of Arkansas.

After attending Oxford, Clinton obtained a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Yale Law School in 1973. While at Yale, he met a classmate who would eventually be his wife, Hillary Rodham; the couple married in 1975. Their only child, Chelsea, was born in 1980.

Arkansas political career
In 1974, his first year as a University of Arkansas law professor, Clinton 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.

In 1978, Bill Clinton was first elected governor of the state of Arkansas, the youngest to be elected governor since 1938. His first term was fraught with difficulties, including an unpopular motor vehicle tax and popular anger over the escape of Cuban prisoners (from the Mariel boatlift) detained in Fort Chafee in 1980.

In the 1980 election, Clinton was defeated in his bid for a second term by Republican challenger Frank D. White. As he once joked, he was the youngest ex-governor in the nation's history. But in 1982, Clinton won his old job back, and over the next decade helped Arkansas transform its economy. He became a leading figure among the New Democrats, a branch of the Democratic Party that called for welfare reform, smaller government, and other ideas that reached out to Democrats and Republicans alike.

Clinton's approach mollified conservative criticism during his terms as governor. However, personal and business transactions made by the Clintons during this period became the basis of the Whitewater investigation, which dogged his later presidential administration. After very extensive investigation over several years, no indictments of any kind were made against either of the Clintons growing out of their Arkansas years.

Presidency

1992 Presidential Campaign
Clinton's first foray into national politics occurred when he was enlisted to speak at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, introducing candidate Michael Dukakis. Clinton's address, scheduled to last 15 minutes, lasted over half an hour. Toward the end of the speech, conventioneers began chanting “Get off!” The speech drew cheers only when Clinton uttered the words, “in conclusion.” Clinton later poked fun at himself on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show by saying that the speech "had not been my finest hour, not even my finest hour and a half."

Four years later, Clinton prepared for a run in 1992 against incumbent President George H. W. Bush. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, Bush seemed unbeatable, and several potential Democratic candidates — notably New York Governor Mario Cuomo — passed on what seemed to be a lost cause. Clinton won the Democratic Party's nomination.

Clinton chose U.S. Senator Albert A. Gore Jr. (D-Tennessee) to be his running mate on July 9, 1992. Initially this decision sparked criticism from strategists due to the fact that Gore was from Clinton's neighboring state of Tennessee which would go against the popular strategy of balancing a Southern candidate with a Northern partner. In retrospect, many now view Gore as a helpful factor in the 1992 campaign.

Many character issues were raised during the campaign, including allegations that Clinton had dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, and had used marijuana, which Clinton claimed he had pretended to smoke, but "didn't inhale". Allegations of extramarital affairs and shady business deals were also raised. Clinton displayed the resiliency in the face of scandal that would later be pivotal in his presidency. As the candidate with the most money and the best-articulated campaign strategy — creating more jobs — Clinton was able to stay in the race the longest, fending off all rivals long before the Democratic convention.

Election
Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.01% of the vote) against Republican 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), largely on a platform focusing on domestic issues; a large part of his success was due to George H.W. Bush's steep decline in public approval. Previously described as "unbeatable" due to his approval ratings in the 80 percent range during the Persian Gulf conflict, Bush saw his public approval rating drop to just over 40% by election time.

Clinton's victory came about for several reasons. The recession of 1992 caused job losses in the white collar sector, and this fueled strong discontent with Bush, who to many voters seemed out of touch, and overly focused on foreign affairs. By contrast, the highly telegenic Clinton appeared to voters as sympathetic, and more in touch with ordinary families.

Bush's reneging on his promise not to raise taxes was exploited by the Clinton campaign. In his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention of 1988, Bush had famously proclaimed: "Read my lips ... No new taxes." Clinton repeatedly condemned Bush's failure to keep this promise. His campaign ran ads hinting that the failure reflected on Bush's character.

Finally, Bush's coalition was in disarray. Ross Perot's independent campaign played to moderates' concerns about the budget deficit, siphoning crucial swing votes from Bush. Previously, conservatives had been united by anti-communism; with the end of the Cold War, old rivalries re-emerged. The Republican Convention of 1992 was dominated by evangelical Christians, and this alarmed some moderate voters, who thought the Republican Party had been taken over by religious conservatives. A

ll this worked in Clinton's favor. Clinton could point to his moderate, 'New Democrat' record as Governor of Arkansas. Liberal Democrats were impressed by Clinton's academic credentials, his 1960s-era protest record, and support for social causes such as a woman's right to abortion. The Reagan Democrats who had supported Reagan and Bush in previous elections switched their allegiance to the more moderate candidate, Clinton.

Clinton was the first Democrat to serve two full terms as president since Franklin D. Roosevelt. His election ended an era in which the Republican party had controlled the White House 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 U.S. Congress as well as the presidency, for the first time since the administration of the last Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.

Significant events of the first term
Shortly after taking office, Clinton fulfilled a campaign promise by signing the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which required large employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave because of pregnancy or serious medical condition. While this action was popular, Clinton's initial reluctance to fulfill another campaign promise relating to the acceptance of openly homosexual 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).

During the campaign, Clinton had promised to lift the ban on gays serving their country. Instead, after much debate, Clinton implemented the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which still remains in effect, stating that homosexual men and women may serve in the military as long as their sexuality is kept secret; heterosexual soldiers are under no such restrictions. By 1999, Clinton said he didn't "think any serious person could say" that the policy was not "out of whack". Some gay rights advocates criticized Clinton for not going far enough and accused him of making his campaign promise simply to get votes and contributions.

These advocates felt Clinton should have integrated the military by executive order, noting that President Harry S Truman ended segregation of the armed forces in that manner. Clinton's defenders argued that an executive order might have prompted the then-Democrat-controlled Senate to write the exclusion of gays into law, potentially making it even harder to integrate the military in the future.

Clinton pushed another controversial issue during this period: that of free trade. In 1993, Clinton supported the North American Free Trade Agreement for ratification by the US Senate. Despite being negotiated by his Republican predecessor, Clinton (along with most of his Democratic Leadership Committee allies) strongly supported free trade measures. Though the measure was opposed by some anti-trade Republicans, most of the opposition came from protectionist Democrats and supporters of Ross Perot. Ultimately, the treaty was ratified, a major legislative victory.

Clinton also signed into law the Brady Bill, which imposes a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases so that background checks can be done to help keep handguns away from criminals. President Clinton expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits working class families with dependent children.

The most important item on Clinton's legislative agenda, however, was a complex 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. 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.

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. They lost control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, in large part due to the failed attempt to create a comprehensive health care system.

Significant events of the second term
After the 1994 election, the spotlight shifted to the Contract with America spearheaded by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. This initiative presented a blanket of traditional Republican proposals, plus a number of anti-corruption measures. Without a friendly legislative body, Clinton shifted from pushing new policy to blocking the Republican (GOP) agenda.

In August of 1993, Clinton had signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It significantly raised taxes on the top 2% of taxpayers, without providing middle class tax cuts as he promised during the campaign. But more importantly, it mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years, and put spending restraints in place. The Republicans objected vociferously, claiming that it would wreck the economy. In November of 1994, the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. They were furious at being strait jacketed into spending cuts by the bill, but they couldn't ignore it without appearing to be softer on deficit spending than the Democrats.

In 1996, the GOP passed a budget with significant spending cuts thinking that Clinton could either sign the bill (a major political defeat) or veto it (resulting in a shutdown of most government services). GOP leaders believed that their recently energized supporters would stand with them, while the shutdown would be blamed on Clinton's veto of the spending bills. Clinton instead vetoed the bills and staged a media blitz, rallying his constituencies to blame the shutdown on the Republicans.

The public largely agreed with Clinton's interpretation of the situation, and the Republicans suffered a major political defeat. The perception that the congressional Republicans were dangerous radicals stayed with them for the remainder of the Clinton presidency, and Clinton repeatedly made skillful use of this perception to pass his initiatives while blocking theirs.

Clinton cleverly managed the other major challenge posed by the Contract with America: that of welfare reform. The welfare system, unpopular with middle-class voters, was a major target of the Republicans. However, rather than present the programs as inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive, as they had (unsuccessfully) done in the past, their new tactic was to focus on the success of welfare in its stated goal: fighting poverty. In this they were more successful. Using statistics often compiled by welfare advocates to demand more spending, they pointed to a widening gap between rich and poor and the emergence of a dependent welfare "underclass."

Under their proposed welfare reform, individuals could not receive benefits for more than five years. States, meanwhile, would receive "block grants" of federal funds that they would be free to spend on anti-poverty initiatives as they wished, rather than according to federal rules. This amounted to a major shift in welfare policy, and was bitterly contested by Democrats. Clinton, however, supported the plan (to the fury and astonishment of even some members of his Cabinet). In his 1996 State of the Union speech, Clinton promised to "end welfare as we know it". He later signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996.

This proved to be a major political victory, and a vindication of his strategy of "triangulation." Republicans were robbed of the issue with which they were getting the best traction, while Clinton was presented as a fair-minded, mainstream moderate. In the 1996 presidential election a few months later, 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). The Republicans lost a few seats, but overall retained control of the Congress.

In 1998, as a result of allegations that he had lied during grand jury testimony regarding his relationship with a young female White House intern (Monica Lewinsky), Clinton was the second U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was tried in the Senate and acquitted of the charges brought against him. Clinton initially denied having any improper relationship with Lewinsky.

After it was revealed that investigators had obtained a semen-stained dress as well as testimony from Lewinsky, Clinton admitted that an improper relationship with Lewinsky had taken place. He apologized to the nation for his actions, agreed to pay a $25,000 court fine, settled his sexual harassment lawsuit with Paula Jones for $850,000 and was disbarred from practicing law in Arkansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was not tried for nor found guilty of perjury in a court.

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 90's, 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. However, these negotiations proved unsuccessful.

Critics charged Clinton with trying to "shoot the moon" to benefit his historical legacy, but instead making the situation worse with a botched negotiation. Supporters consider Clinton to have attempted to address new tensions from the recent outbreak of violence at its root causes, and that Clinton can hardly be blamed for a centuries-old conflict. Some further argue that Arafat's decision to walk away from an offer that supposedly contained all of his previously stated demands freed the US to pursue a tougher policy in later years.

Despite occasional political troubles, Clinton remained popular with the American people. In addition to his political skills, Clinton also benefited from a very skillful management of the US economy. In 1999, the United States had a projected federal budget surplus for the first time since 1969. By 1998 it was a $70 billion budget surplus. While Clinton, Congress and the private sector have all been given credit at different times, this economic success was a source of immense political strength for Clinton. He remained popular through and beyond the end of his terms in office.

The economy
During Clinton's tenure, the U.S. enjoyed continuous economic expansion, reductions in unemployment, and growing wealth through a massive rise in the stock market. The economic boom ended in Q1, 2000, 10 months before his term ended in January, 2001, possibly indicative of a stock market bubble. Although the reasons for the expansion are continually debated, Clinton proudly pointed to a number of economic accomplishments, including:

More than 22 million new jobs
Homeownership rate increase from 64.0% to 67.5%
Lowest unemployment rate in 30 years
Higher incomes at all levels
Largest budget deficit in American history converted to the largest surplus of over $200 billion
Lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP since 1974
Higher stock ownership by families than ever before
220% increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 300% increase in the Nasdaq from 1993 to 2001

The reasons for this growth are hotly debated, but Clinton supporters cite his 1993 tax increase as the reason that eventually led to the reduction in the annual budget deficits every year of his tenure. These deficit reductions stimulated consumption and consumer spending and strengthened the dollar, which encouraged foreign investment in the United States economy. Alan Greenspan supported the 1993 tax increase, which was approved by Congress without a single Republican vote.

Critics of Clinton point to Alan Greenspan's strong chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, 1995 spending cuts and the Republican Party's Contract with America initiatives as alternative reasons for America's strong economic growth of the late 90's. Critics also argue that the economic recovery had already begun before Bill Clinton took office and did not pick up momentum until 1995 and 1996, after the GOP took over Congress (despite the fact that GDP growth was higher in 1994 than in either 1995 or 1996). Many economists attribute massive growth to the dot-com boom which just happened to come during Clinton's term, thus adding many new jobs which may not be directly attributed to policies of the Clinton administration.

Trade
Clinton strongly supported the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Initiated during the tenure of his predecessor, George H.W. Bush, it was passed by the United States Congress in 1993, after Clinton and Gore lobbied heavily for it.

The Clinton administration used the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights thirteen times and prevailed in the WTO thirteen times.

Foreign policy
Clinton deployed the U.S. military hesitantly several times under hostile circumstances. In 1993, U.S. troops, initially deployed to Somalia by the Bush administration, fought the Battle of Mogadishu which attempted to capture local warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The Clinton administration withdrew U.S. troops after suffering 19 deaths and 73 wounded at the hands of Somalia militiaman. These militia were later proved to have been trained by the Al Qaida terrorist network. In 1994, Clinton sent U.S. troops into Haiti to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president, ending a period of intense violence.

Aristide, who had been elected, had been ousted in a coup just seven months into his term in 1991. Clinton also committed troops twice in the former-Yugoslavia to stop ethnic violence, most notably in Kosovo. In addition, Clinton launched military strikes on Iraq several times to punish violations of UN sanctions and an attempt to have former President George H. W. Bush assassinated. Clinton did not intervene militarily to end the Rwandan genocide, a decision he later regarded as a "personal failure".

In 1994, Clinton negotiated and signed the Nuclear Accords with North Korea. The underlying concern was that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons technology under the guise of a nuclear power plant. In exchange for assistance with energy needs, North Korea agreed to abandon all ambitions for acquiring nuclear weapons. However, by the mid 1990s defectors from North Korea, along with reports from the IAEA, indicated that North Korea was violating both the Nuclear Accords and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In December 2002, North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors from its Yongbyon nuclear facility, and announced (privately in 2003 and publicly in 2005), that they possessed nuclear weapons.

In November, 1995, Clinton committed troops to the Balkans saying the mission would be “precisely defined with clear realistic goals” that could be achieved in a “definite period of time". Clinton assured Americans the mission would take about one year. In October 1996, shortly before Clinton's reelection, the Clinton Administration denied any change in the plans to withdraw troops in December, 1996. However, shortly after reelection, Clinton announced troops would stay longer. Troops ultimately stayed in Bosnia for nine years.

On February 17, 1998, Clinton gave a speech signaling the danger of rogue nations providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorist organizations with global reach. Clinton specifically pointed to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In August 1998 UN weapons inspectors left Iraq, leading to Operation Desert Fox in December.

During Clinton's tenure, Al-Qaeda began to emerge as a major terrorist threat. In 1993, Al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center. In 1998, the group bombed the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. In retaliation, Clinton ordered Operation Infinite Reach, which involved cruise missile strikes on terrorist camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan and a suspected chemical weapons facility in Khartoum, Sudan that was believed to be tied to bin Laden. Clinton also gave orders authorizing the arrest or, if need be, assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

At the end of his term, in late 2000, the terrorists struck again with the USS Cole bombing. In 2004, Clinton said he regarded Al-Qaeda as the foremost threat to national security. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the independent investigating commission was critical of Clinton for focusing more on diplomatic than military means to eliminate the bin Laden threat.

Some critics argue that the American attacks in Kosovo, Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan violated international law.

After his presidency, Clinton identified his proudest foreign policy accomplishments as mediating peace talks between Israel and the PLO, resulting in the Oslo Accords (1993). Subsequent events, including the collapse of the 2000 Camp David Summit and the commencement of the al-Aqsa Intifada, resulted in the Oslo Accords being widely discredited within Israel and in various Palestinian factions by 2004.

Clinton identified his major foreign policy failure as lack of response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Along with the United Nations, the Clinton administration initially did not publicly acknowledge that genocide was occurring. This delayed the mandatory response to the crisis and nearly one million people died. A report from the Organization for African Unity singled out the United Nations, Belgium, France and United States for condemnation.

In 1998, Clinton went to Africa where he said he "did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror. A report from the National Security Archive showed that Clinton Administration had collected considerable amounts of information during the crisis and it was passed up to policymakers. In 2005, the former President apologized for his "personal failure" to stop the genocide.

Impeachment and controversies
In 1999, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was acquitted by the Senate. The perjury charge arose from Clinton's testimony about his relationship to Monica Lewinsky during a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former Arkansas-state employee Paula Jones. The obstruction charge was based on his actions during the subsequent investigation of that testimony. On February 12, 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 all of the votes to convict being cast by Republicans. 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. Clinton, like the only other president to be impeached, Andrew Johnson, served the remainder of his term.

The day before leaving office, Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license as part of an agreement with the independent counsel to end the investigation. Based on this suspension, Clinton was also automatically suspended from the United States Supreme Court bar, from which he chose to resign. Clinton's resignation was mostly symbolic, as he had never practiced before the Supreme Court and was not expected to in the future. Clinton also was assessed a $90,000 fine by federal judge Susan Webber Wright for contempt of court. The Paula Jones lawsuit was settled out of court for $850,000.

In addition to impeachment and the Whitewater scandal, the Clinton White House was the subject of many other controversies.

The White House travel office controversy involved allegations of impropriety in the firing of civil service staffers. The White House personnel file controversy involved improper access by security officials to FBI files on White House personnel, without first asking for the individuals' permission. The Bill Clinton pardons controversy involved a grant of clemency to FALN bombers in 1999 and pardons to his brother Roger, tax-evading billionaire Marc Rich and others in 2001 (see List of people pardoned by Bill Clinton).

The "Chinagate" controversy involved allegations of improper campaign contributions to President Clinton's legal defense fund and the Democratic National Committee, by individuals such as John Huang, James Riady, and Maria Hsia, et al. Allegedly, the ultimate source of this money was the Chinese government. Seventeen donors and fund-raisers were convicted of felonies due to the affair.

Early in his first-term, a largely discredited documentary, the Clinton Chronicles, implicated Bill Clinton in a large number of deaths of his acquaintences. This also became known as the "Clinton Body Count" and was the subject of a request for Congressional hearings in 1994. As many as 60 people were on this list of "suspicious deaths" including Jim McDougal, Vince Foster and Ron Brown.

In March, 1998 Kathleen Willey, a White House aide, alleged that Clinton had sexually assaulted her. Also in 1998, Juanita Broaddrick alleged that Clinton had raped her in 1978. No charges were filed in either case.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy was acquitted on each of 30 charges of illegally accepting gifts such as sports tickets, lodging, and transportation from companies regulated by his department in exchange for favors. HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros was indicted on 18 counts of conspiracy, giving false statements and obstruction of Justice. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of lying to the FBI about the amount of money he gave his mistress, political fundraiser Linda Medlar. Medlar plead guilty to 28 counts related to the investigation. Both Medlar and Cisneros were pardoned by Clinton.

On Clinton's last day in office, he pardoned over 200 convicted felons, including his brother Roger, who was imprisoned on drug charges and Dan Rostenkowski, the former Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee who had been convicted on corruption and mail fraud charges. Another one of those pardoned was Marc Rich, a financier who had fled the United States decades before for tax evasion and other illegal activities including buying illegal oil from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Rich fled the country before being indicted and never saw a day of trial or incarcaration. Many questioned the pardon, stating that Rich's wife Denise had pleaded with the president for years to pardon her ex-husband and that she personally donated money to his presidential library in exchange for a pardon for her husband. These actions quickly led to public hearings by congress into the legality of all of Clinton's presidential pardons.

Clinton was criticized by those on the left for his practice of "co-opting" Republican policies, and "triangulating" himself. The triangulation practice would make the public see Clinton on "top" of a triangle, putting himself "above" the Republicans and Democrats. The theory was that Clinton was, in his eyes, "doing the business of the American people", and not getting involved in partisan politics. He always stressed he was being bipartisan, but in the end many progressives concluded that he was simply a Republican-lite.

Conservative policies that he supported and passed while he was president were NAFTA, GATT, welfare reform, more crimes eligible for the death penalty, the Defense of Marriage Act, and deregulating the telecommunications industry. He dropped a nominee, Lani Guinier, from a key civil rights post because of her Black Power ideological views. Progressives like Ralph Nader and union leaders complained that Clinton's enthusiastic support of free trade cost the Democrats the Congress in 1994. They argued he alienated working class voters and the party's traditional liberal base, and these voters figured that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats cared very much for them.

The "vast right-wing conspiracy" charge
The Clinton Administration was the subject of many investigations and accusations of misconduct and illegality. Led by a network of largely conservative talk radio media outlets, including Rush Limbaugh, and television commentators such as FOX NEWS' Sean Hannity, Geraldo Rivera, and Bill O'Reilly, accusations of corruption, murder and dishonesty were made against Clinton and his administration almost daily.

Other efforts such as the Arkansas Project funded by wealthy conservatives such as Pittsburgh banking heir Richard Mellon Scaife went about trying to find suggestions of wrongdoing in Clinton's past and publicizing allegations. On NBCs "Today Show," Hillary Rodham Clinton described this informal network as a "vast right-wing conspiracy." She was ridiculed by conservative media networks for the statement, but former conservative journalist David Brock has described in books his own involvement in exaggerating claims against the Clintons and the network of conservative media operations that kept such accusations at the forefront of the public's attention.

Timeline
November 3, 1992 - Clinton is elected, defeating Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush and billionaire businessman H. Ross Perot.
January 20, 1993 - First inauguration.
February 26, 1993 - World Trade Center terrorist attack. The World Trade Center bombing killed 6 and injured over 1,000 people.
April 19, 1993 - A government siege of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, results in the deaths of 80 people when a cult leader allegedly sets fire to his own compound. Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno receive criticism for mishandling the stand-off.
July 20, 1993 - Clinton friend and confidant Vince Foster is found dead of a gunshot wound; later determined to be suicide.
September 13, 1993 - Clinton brings together Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn.
October 3, 1993 - Battle of Mogadishu - Ranger Units receive heavy casualties in Somalia (the Black Hawk Down incident).
January 14, 1994 - 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 Ukraine.
November 8, 1994 - Republicans elected to majorities in both houses of Congress.
April 19, 1995 - Oklahoma City bombing - Terrorist bombing of federal building in Oklahoma City results in the deaths of 168 people, 19 of whom were children.
November 14, 1995 - Budget negotiations between Congress and Clinton break down, resulting in a temporary shutdown of the federal government until November 19. A longer shutdown will last from mid-December 1995 until early January 1996.
November 1995 - Clinton organizes peace talks for Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, eventually resulting in the Dayton Agreement.
December, 1995 - Clinton visits Ireland, leading to the establishment of an International Commission chaired by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell.
June 25, 1996 - Khobar Towers bombing a powerful truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, tearing the front from the building, blasting a crater 35 feet deep, and killing 19 American soldiers.
November 5, 1996 - Clinton is reelected, defeating Republican challenger Bob Dole and Reform Party founder H. Ross Perot.
January 20, 1997 - Second inauguration.
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 to hit a suspected chemical weapons factory in Sudan, suspected to be funded by Osama Bin Laden. Critics cried "wag the dog" and suggested the bombing was intended to divert attention from Monica Lewinsky's testimony before a grand jury about her relationship with Clinton, which happened at roughly the same time.
August 17, 1998 - Clinton testifies before a grand jury about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. In the evening, he delivers a nationally televised address in which he describes the relationship as "not appropriate" but also "nobody's business." (See Clinton impeachment.)
December 19, 1998 - Clinton is impeached by the House of Representatives on grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice. (See Clinton impeachment.)
January 7, 1999 - The trial of Clinton in the Senate begins. (See Clinton impeachment.)
February 12, 1999 - Clinton is acquitted of all charges by the Senate.
March 24 to June 10, 1999 - NATO bombs Kosovo and Serbia. (See Kosovo War.)
May 7, 1999 - U.S. planes accidentally bomb China's embassy in Belgrade. (See Kosovo War.)
June 10, 1999 - Serbia hands control of Kosovo to the United Nations. (See Kosovo War.)
November 1, 1999 - Visited Norway to participate in a Memorial sermon in Oslo in respect of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
October 5, 2000 - The defeat of Slobodan Miloševic in earlier elections leads to mass demonstrations in Belgrade and the ultimate collapse of the regime's authority. Opposition leader Vojislav Koštunica takes office as the Yugoslavian president the next day. (See Kosovo War.)
January 20, 2001 - Leaves office at the end of second term.

Public approval
While Clinton's job approval rating varied over the course of his first term, ranging from a low of 36 percent in 1993 to a high of 64 percent in 1993 and 1994, his job approval rating consistently ranged from the high 50s to the high 60s in his second term, with a high of 73 percent approval in 1998 and 1999. A CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup poll conducted as he was leaving office, revealed deeply contradictory attitudes regarding Clinton. Although his approval rating at 68 percent was higher than that of any other departing president since polling began more than seven decades earlier, only 45 percent said they would miss him.

While 55 percent thought he "would have something worthwhile to contribute and should remain active in public life", and 47 percent rated him as either outstanding or above average as a president, 68 percent thought he would be remembered for his "involvement in personal scandal" rather than his accomplishments as president, and 58 percent answered "No" to the question "Do you generally think Bill Clinton is honest and trustworthy?" 47 percent of the respondents identified themselves as being Clinton supporters.

Public image
As the first Baby Boomer president, Clinton was the first president in a half century not shaped by World War II. With his sound-bite-ready dialogue and pioneering use of pop culture in his campaigning (he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show playing his saxophone during the 1992 campaign), Clinton was described, often negatively, as the "MTV president". Clinton clearly came across as popular to young people. Until his inauguration as president, he had earned substantially less money than his wife, and had the smallest net worth of any president in modern history, according to My Life, Clinton's autobiography. Clinton was strikingly popular among African-Americans and made improving race relations a major theme of his presidency.

The couple was a political partnership unknown since Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Many jokes implied that Hillary was the real President of the United States.

Social conservatives were put off by the impression of Clinton having been a "hippie" during the late 1960s, his coming-of-age era. In the 1960s, however, Clinton might not have been viewed as such by many of those in the hippie subculture. Clinton avoided the draft with a student deferment while studying abroad during the Vietnam War. Clinton's marijuana experimentation, clumsily excused by Clinton's statement that he "didn't inhale" further tarnished his image with some voters. In terms of policy Clinton was to the right of most recent Democratic candidates for the presidency on many issues - he supported the death penalty, curfews, uniforms in public schools, and other measures opposed by youth rights supporters, and he expanded the War on Drugs greatly while in office.

Extramarital Affairs
Starting from 1992 Presidential election campaign, 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 Jones, Gennifer Flowers, and Kathleen 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.

Other Views
Clinton's warmth, curiosity and openness unite to create an intense personal charm, but his character and policies were viewed with intense, personal dislike by some conservative critics. Several unsubstantiated accusations were leveled on conservative talk radio programs. Among these were rumors of involvement with drug traffickers and personal cocaine use. Some talk show personalities fomented conspiracy theories about Clinton's involvement in the death of long-time friend and aide Vince Foster, which was later ruled a suicide in an extensive investigation by Kenneth Starr. The deadly Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas in 1993, a bungled operation, engendered further hostility towards the Clinton administration.

Nicknames
Clinton is often referred to by nickname among both detractors and fans. One of the earliest was "Bubba", which alludes to his Southern "good ol' boy" background. Other common nicknames include "Slick Willy" and "Clintoon" (by detractors), and the "Big Dog" (by fans). Although the phrase typically refers to Ronald Reagan's presidency, Clinton's presidency is sometimes referred to as the "Teflon Presidency" for how scandals and setbacks never seem to stick to him, at least in terms of dropped public support. During his first presidential campaign in 1992 he claimed the moniker of the "Comeback Kid" after placing second in the New Hampshire primary to Paul Tsongas ("Tonight New Hampshire's made me the Comeback Kid" ).

Post-presidential career
On January 18 2001, he addressed the nation one last time on television from the Oval Office of the White House, two days before handing over the presidency to George W. Bush, whose father he had defeated in 1992.

Like other former American presidents, Clinton has engaged in a career as a public speaker on a variety of issues (earning $875,000 in 2004 alone, according to Mr. Clinton's own financial disclosure statements). The speaking engagements are remarkable in that since 2001, when he addressed a large gathering of Morgan Stanley investment 'fat cats' and incited a major backlash aimed at company management, he is conspicuously absent from any major US company invitations. In his speaking outside the country and in public forums, he continues to comment on aspects of contemporary politics.

One notable theme is his advocacy of multilateral solutions to problems facing the world. Clinton's close relationship with the African American community has been highlighted in his post-Presidential career with his opening of his personal office in the Harlem section of New York City. He assisted his wife Hillary Clinton in her campaign for office as Senator from New York.

In February 2004, Clinton (along with Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren) won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for narrating the Russian National Orchestra's album Peter and the Wolf/Wolf Tracks. Clinton won a second Grammy in February 2005, Best Spoken Word Album for My Life.

Clinton's autobiography, My Life, was released in June 2004.

On July 26, 2004, Clinton spoke for the fifth time in a row to the Democratic National Convention, using the opportunity to praise candidate John Kerry. Many Democrats believed that Clinton's speech was one of the best in Convention history. In it, he criticized President George W. Bush's depiction of Kerry, saying that "strength and wisdom are not opposing values."

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 successfully underwent quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery on September 6, 2004. The medical team responsible for Clinton claimed that, had he not had surgery, he would likely have suffered a massive heart attack within a few months. 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.

He dedicated his presidential library, which is the largest in the nation, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 18, 2004. 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.

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.

On December 8, 2004, Clinton announced that he was the new spokesperson for Accoona, an internet search engine company.

The Friendship of Clinton and Bush
There had been reported signs of a friendship growing between Clinton and George W. Bush. After the official unveiling of his White House portrait in June 2004, the Asian Tsunami disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2004 election, Clinton and Bush met on occasion, although the nature of the friendship did not appear to be a reconciliation of political opinions.

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 picked by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to head the United Nations earthquake and tsunami relief and reconstruction effort. Five days later, he and Bush both appeared 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." Thirteen days later, they both traveled to the affected areas to see how the relief efforts were going.

On August 31 2005, following the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Clinton again teamed 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. Clinton was highly critical of the federal government response to the hurricane, saying that the government "failed" the people affected, and that an investigation into the response was warranted.

Following the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005 Clinton stirred up a mini-controversy saying the late pontiff, "may have had a mixed legacy…there will be debates about him. But on balance, he was a man of God, he was a consistent person, he did what he thought was right." Clinton sat with both President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush as the first current or former American heads of state to attend a papal funeral.

On September 16 2005, Clinton appeared on Larry King Live to talk about Senator Clinton's political career.

On December 9 2005, speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, Clinton publicly criticized the Bush Administration about its handling of emissions control.

On February 7, 2006, Clinton appeared at Coretta Scott King's funeral.

Whilst 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 boost HIV/AIDS programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

On March 5, 2006, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Pace University, and is the first recipient of the Pace University President's Centennial Award. Following reception of the honorary degree, he spoke to the students, faculty, alumni and staff of Pace, officially kicking off the centennial anniversary of the university. Also in 2006 Clinton was awarded the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.

Trivia
Clinton is 6' 1½" (1.87m) tall.

Clinton is left-handed (as were Harry Truman and George H.W. Bush).

Clinton's Secret Service codename is "Eagle."

Clinton is an amateur saxophonist. (other recent musical presidents include pianists Harry Truman and Richard Nixon)

Clinton is allergic to dust, mold, pollen, and cat dander, mildly allergic to beef and dairy products.

Clinton was a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity and Kappa Kappa Psi, a band service fraternity.

Clinton is fluent in German; he studied German in college as his language-of-choice.

Clinton owned two pets during his presidency: a male chocolate-colored Labrador Retriever named "Buddy" and a cat named "Socks". Socks arrived in 1993 and was the first cat to live in the White House since President Carter's daughter's cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Clinton acquired Buddy as a puppy in 1997 and named him after his late uncle. Buddy and Socks fought frequently at the White House and were kept in separate quarters. Since this would be no longer possible in the Clintons' smaller home in Chappaqua, New York, Socks was given away to Clinton's secretary when he left office. Buddy died after being run over by a car near the Clintons' Chappaqua house in 2002.

Centraal Beheer, a Dutch insurance company famous for its humorous commercials, once had a TV commercial involving Clinton and a voodoo doll. This commercial was taken down after a few weeks at the request of the White House.

Clinton reportedly owned a 1970 El Camino at one time. Speaking to a group of GM employees, Clinton joked, "It had astro-turf in the back. You don't want to know why."

In November of 1997 President Clinton made history by being the first sitting President to speak to a gay rights organization. He gave a speech at a formal dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Clinton thumb gesture was popularized by Clinton.

Bill Clinton's campaign song during his first Presidential campaign was "Don't Stop" [Thinking About Tomorrow] by Fleetwood Mac. He even managed to persuade the then-defunct group to perform for his inaugural ball in 1993.

 
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