Bill Clinton

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William Jefferson Clinton
William Jefferson Clinton
Term of office January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by George W. Bush
Date of birth August 19, 1946
Place of birth Hope, Arkansas
Spouse Hillary Rodham Clinton
Political party Democratic

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

Generally regarded as 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, upgrade education, to restrict handgun sales, 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 more conservative 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 and John F. Kennedy (the youngest elected president). He was the first baby boomer president.


Early Life

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe, III in tiny Hope, Arkansas and raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., a travelling salesman who had been killed in a car accident in Scott County, Missouri between the towns of Sikeston and Morley three months before his son was born. His mother, born Virginia Dell Cassidy (19231994), remarried in 1950 to Roger Clinton. 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 nuclear, 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 an excellent student and talented saxophonist. He even thought of 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.

Arkansas political career and education

Clinton received a B.S.F.S. degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington DC, 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 (at the University College, Oxford) in England. After Oxford, Clinton received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Yale Law School, where he met classmate Hillary Rodham whom he married in 1975.

President Carter (right) meets Governor Clinton.
President Carter (right) meets Governor Clinton.

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, becoming a victim of the Reagan Republican landslide. 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 to transform its economy. He became a leading figure among the so-called New Democrats, who called for welfare reform, smaller government, and other Reagan-like ideas.

Clinton's approach mollified conservative criticism during his terms as governor. However, one or two personal 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 or charges of any kind were made against either of the Clintons in respect of matters that took place in their Arkansas years.


Official Cornell University photograph.
Official Cornell University photograph.

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, became a debacle as Clinton gave a notoriously dull speech that lasted over half an hour [1]. Clinton's subsequent appearance on The Tonight Show to diffuse the criticism was perceived by Associated Press as a "stunning comeback" from his convention television appearance. [2]

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 people raised various character issues during the campaign, including allegations that he had dodged the draft during the Vietnam War, and had used marijuana, which he claimed he had smoked, but "didn't inhale." Allegations of extramarital affairs and shady business deals also were raised. But 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. [3]

Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (42.9% 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 portion of his success was due to George H.W. Bush's steep decline in public approval. Effective Democratic TV ads were aired showing a clip of Bush's infamous 1988 campaign speech in which he promised "Read my lips ... No new taxes." Bush had in fact raised taxes after taking office, and this damaged his 1992 re-election campaign greatly. Previously described as "unbeatable" due to his approval ratings in the 80 percent range during the Persian Gulf conflict, Bush's public approval rating dropped to just over 40% by election time. In his last question of the final Presidential debate, Clinton's opponent was asked to explain why his approval rating had been cut in half:

REPORTER: Mr. President, why have you dropped so dramatically in the leadership polls, from the high 80s to the 40s? And you have said that you will do anything you have to do to get reelected. What can you do in two weeks to win reelection?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think the answer to why the drop, I think, has been the economy in the doldrums. Why I'll win is: I think I have the best plan of the three of us up here to do something about it.

Significant events

Clinton was the first Democrat to serve two full terms as president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, though he is the first president since Richard Nixon in 1968 with his 43% victory to have never achieved a majority of the popular vote. 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.

Clinton's first act as president was to sign executive order 12834 (entitled "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees"), which placed substantial restrictions upon the ability of his senior political appointees to lobby their colleagues after they leave office. Clinton rescinded the order shortly before he left office in executive order 13184 of December 28, 2000.

Clinton and Vice President Gore talk while walking through the Colonnade at the White House.
Clinton and Vice President Gore talk while walking through the Colonnade at the White House.

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). After much debate, Clinton implemented the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, which remains official military policy.

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. Though initially well-received, it was ultimately doomed by well-organized opposition from conservatives and the health insurance industry. It was the first major legislative defeat of Clinton's administration.

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 stalled legislation, including a failed attempt to create a comprehensive health care system under a plan developed by the First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yitzhak Rabin, Clinton, and Yasser Arafat during the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993. This image has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. You can comment on the removal.
Yitzhak Rabin, Clinton, and Yasser Arafat during the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993.
This image has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. You can comment on the removal.

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 Clinton sparred over the budget. The inability of Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress to come to an agreement resulted in the longest government shutdown to date.

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), while the Republicans retained control of the Congress losing but 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.

In 1999, through Clinton's and the Congress's efforts, the United States had a projected federal budget surplus for the first time since 1969.

He took a personal interest in The Troubles in Northern Ireland and paid three visits there while he was president in order to encourage peace. His involvement was an important element in the peace process which set in motion the disarmament of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) on October 23, 2001.

In 2002, a UPI story stated that documents discovered in Afghanistan showed that al-Qaeda may have plotted to assassinate Clinton toward the end of his term.[4]

Legislation and programs

Major legislation signed

Major legislation vetoed

Proposals not passed by Congress



President Clinton's First Cabinet, 1993
President Clinton's First Cabinet, 1993
President Bill Clinton 1993–2001
Vice President Al Gore 1993–2001
State Warren M. Christopher 1993–1997
Madeleine K. Albright 1997–2001
Treasury Lloyd Bentsen 1993–1994
Robert E. Rubin 1995–1999
Lawrence H. Summers 1999–2001
Defense Les Aspin 1993–1994
William J. Perry 1994–1997
William S. Cohen 1997–2001
Justice Janet Reno 1993–2001
Interior Bruce Babbitt 1993–2001
Agriculture Mike Espy 1993–1994
Daniel R. Glickman 1994–2001
Commerce Ronald H. Brown 1993–1996
Mickey Kantor 1996–1997
William M. Daley 1997–2000
Norman Y. Mineta 2000–2001
Labor Robert B. Reich 1993–1997
Alexis M. Herman 1997–2001
HHS Donna E. Shalala 1993–2001
Education Richard Riley 1993–2001
HUD Henry G. Cisneros 1993–1997
Andrew Cuomo 1997–2001
Transportation Federico F. Peña 1993–1997
Rodney E. Slater 1997–2001
Energy Hazel O'Leary 1993–1997
Federico F. Peña 1997–1998
Bill Richardson 1998–2001
Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown 1993–1997
Togo D. West, Jr. 1997–2000
Hershel W. Gober 2000–2001

Supreme Court appointments

Clinton appointed the following justices to the Supreme Court:

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 shortly after his term ended, 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 18 million new jobs [[5]]
  • 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 [6]
  • Higher stock ownership by families than ever before

The reasons for this growth are hotly debated, but Clinton supporters cite his 1993 tax increase which is generally acknowledged to have reduced the annual budget deficits. These deficit reductions, it is argued, benefited the economy by lowering interest rates, stimulating comsumption and consumer spending, and strengthening 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 [7]. His critics credit Alan Greenspan, the Republican Congress' 1995 spending cuts, the Contract with America initiatives, and even Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut during the 1980's.[8]


President Clinton strongly supported the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It was negotiated by his predecessor, George H.W. Bush, but it was passed by the United States Congress in 1993, after Clinton and Vice President 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 ([9] audio 12:40-16:30).

Foreign policy

Clinton embraces British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Clinton embraces British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton.
Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton.
Clinton plays the saxophone presented to him by Russian President Boris Yeltsin at a private dinner in Russia, January 13, 1994
Clinton plays the saxophone presented to him by Russian President Boris Yeltsin at a private dinner in Russia, January 13, 1994

Clinton deployed the U.S. military 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 administration withdrew U.S. troops after suffering 18 casualties and 73 wounded in the battle. 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".[10]

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.

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.

During Clinton's tenure, Al-Qaeda began to emerge as a major terrorist threat. In 1998, the group bombed the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. In retaliation, Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on terrorist camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan and a suspected chemical weapons facility in Khartoum, Sudan.[11] 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. By this time, Clinton has stated he regarded Al-Qaeda as the foremost threat to national security.[12] 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.[13]

Some critics argue that the American attacks in Kosovo, Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan violated international law. [14], [15], [16]

Impeachment and other scandals

Main article: Impeachment of Bill Clinton

Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Later he was acquitted by the Senate of perjury and obstruction of justice in an impeachment trial. He joined Andrew Johnson as the only other impeached president. Richard Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment. A lawsuit brought by Paula Corbin Jones in 1994 alleging sexual harassment on the part of Mr. Clinton eventually led to Mr. Clinton being impeached as President of the United States on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on four counts. The charges were perjury, suborning perjury, and obstruction of justice arising from the Lewinsky scandal; the House passed two of the four counts. The Senate acquitted Clinton on both counts in a trial concluding on February 12, 1999. 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. [17][18] Clinton's resignation will have little practical effect. He has 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 lesser scandals. Travelgate refers to the firing of White House travel office staffers allegedly to give business to Clinton's cousin and utilize the plane of Harry Thomason. Filegate refers to White House handling of hundreds of personnel files from individuals without asking for their permission. The White House explanation was that it was merely a "bureaucratic snafu." Chinagate involved Democrats accepting improper campaign contributions; allegedly the ultimate source of this money was the Chinese government. Pardongate refers to a grant of clemency to FALN members in 1999 and pardons to his brother and others in 2001 (see Clinton's Pardons List). 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. 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. [19] Only one Clinton administration official was convicted for any wrong-doing while in office: HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for misstating to the FBI the amount of money he gave his girlfriend.


Public approval

While Clinton's job approval rating varied over the course of his first term, ranging from a low of 36% in 1993, to a high of 64% in 1993 and 1994[20], his job approval rating consistently ranged from the high 50s to the high 60s in his second term[21], with a high of 73% approval in 1998 and 1999[22]. A CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup poll,[23] conducted as he was leaving office, revealed deeply contradictory attitudes regarding Clinton. Although his approval rating at 68 percent was higher than any 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% of the respondents identified themselves as being Clinton supporters.

Public image

Clinton seated with child.
Clinton seated with child.

As the first Baby Boomer president, Clinton was seen during his presidency and during his candidacy as a change from the presidents of the World War II Generation. With his sound-bite-ready dialogue and pioneering use of pop culture in his campaigning (he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show playing the saxophone during the 1992 campaign), Clinton was described, often negatively, as the "MTV president". Despite criticisms that his appeal to young voters lacked substance, Clinton won among Generation X voters in the 1992 election, with the highest Gen-X turnout ever. 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 also very popular overall among African-Americans and made improving race relations a major theme of his presidency.[24]

Hillary Clinton's very strong role in the administration led to a degree of criticism toward a First Lady not seen since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt. Many people saw the couple as an unprecedented political partnership. Some even suspected that Hillary, and not Bill, was the dominant force behind the team, and many jokes implied that Hillary, not Bill, 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. Although he was actually to the right of previous 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.

Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and their wives at the funeral of President Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994.
Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and their wives at the funeral of President Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994.

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.

Clinton's 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, which many considered to be a bungled operation, engendered further hostility in some conservative circles towards the Clinton administration.

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. Similiarly, during his first presidential campaign in 1992, he was dubbed the "Comeback Kid" because he came from behind to gain the Democratic nomination (he had lost the New Hampshire primary to Paul Tsongas) and then to unseat the incumbent.

Post-presidential career

Hillary Clinton is sworn in as a U.S. Senator by Vice President Gore as Bill and Chelsea Clinton observe.
Hillary Clinton is sworn in as a U.S. Senator by Vice President Gore as Bill and Chelsea Clinton observe.

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 many former American presidents, Clinton has engaged in a career as a public speaker on a variety of issues. In these, 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 a senator representing 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 collected his memoirs into a book entitled My Life, which was released on June 22, 2004. Commenting on memoirs in general, he said "some are dull and self-serving, hopefully mine will be interesting and self-serving." The book made an unprecedented three appearances on the best-seller list, before it was even released. In an interview with David Dimbleby [25] which aired on the BBC on June 23, 2004, Clinton was questioned at length about the effects to his presidency of his affair with Monica Lewinsky, conceding that he had made many mistakes while in office. He also spoke about the prospects of a future Clinton presidency, should his wife Hillary Clinton decide to run for office in 2008.

Bill Clinton gives a media interview on his autobiography, My Life
Bill Clinton gives a media interview on his autobiography, My Life

Clinton has gone to other countries for his book tours and has given media interviews on them. One of those was in Canada. On September 11, 2004, CBC Newsworld, which is the CBC's cable news network, began its sixth season of "Mansbridge One on One" with an interview Clinton gave with the program's host, the network's chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge [26] [27]. Unlike Dimbleby, Mansbridge didn't mention the Lewinsky affair. Nor was there any mention of Hillary Clinton. Clinton mostly talked about his book and how he went about writing it, his thoughts on the issues that confronted the Bush administration, and the 2004 presidential election. He also talked about repealing the 22nd Amendment in the event of a terrorist attack.

On July 26, 2004, Clinton spoke for the fifth time in a row to the Democratic National Convention. He used his speech to praise candidate John Kerry. Many have argued that Clinton's speech is one of the best in Convention history. In it, Clinton criticized 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.

Clinton and Former President Bush at Super Bowl XXXIX.
Clinton and Former President Bush at Super Bowl XXXIX.
Clinton, along with President George W. Bush, his wife, Laura, and Bush's father pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.
Clinton, along with President George W. Bush, his wife, Laura, and Bush's father pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.

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.

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, and especially since 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 are going.

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 American heads of state to attend a papal funeral.

In 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. [28]

On September 16, 2005, Clinton appeared on Larry King Live, they spoke on several topics but Mr. Clinton was quick to put to rest any notions that Senator Clinton would run for President in 2008.


  • Clinton struggled with poor eating habits which led to heart problems.
  • Clinton is 6' 2½" (1.90 m).
  • Clinton is left-handed.
  • Clinton is allergic to dust, mold, pollen, cats, beef, and dairy products.
  • Clinton was a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity.
  • 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 Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Clinton acquired Buddy as a puppy in 1997 and named him after his late uncle. Buddy and the Clinton's pet cat Socks fought frequently at the White House and were kept at separate quarters. Since this would be no longer possible in the Clintons' smaller home in New York, Socks was given away to President Clinton's secretary when he left office. Buddy died after a car accident near the Clinton home in Chappaqua, New York in 2002. See also: List of U.S. Presidential pets.

Further reading

See also

External links

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Preceded by:
Jim Guy Tucker
Attorney General of Arkansas
Succeeded by:
Steve Clark
Preceded by:
Joe Purcell
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by:
Frank D. White
Preceded by:
Frank D. White
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by:
Jim Guy Tucker
Preceded by:
Michael Dukakis
Democratic Party Presidential candidate
1992 (won), 1996 (won)
Succeeded by:
Al Gore
Preceded by:
George H. W. Bush
President of the United States
January 20, 1993January 20, 2001
Succeeded by:
George W. Bush

Governors of Arkansas Arkansas State Flag
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