Difference between revisions of "Bill Clinton"

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Revision as of 22:03, 21 March 2013

Bill Jefferson Clinton
42nd President of the United States
From: January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Vice President Al Gore
Predecessor George H. W. Bush
Successor George W. Bush
40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas
From: January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981; January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
Predecessor Joe Purcell (first term)
Frank D. White (second term)
Successor Frank D. White (first term)
Jim Guy Tucker (second term)
50th Attorney General of Arkansas
From: January 3, 1977 – January 9, 1979
Governor David Pryor
Predecessor Jim Guy Tucker
Successor Steve Clark
Party Democratic
Spouse(s) Hillary Rodham Clinton
Religion Baptist

Bill Clinton (formally William Jefferson Clinton; born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946), was the 42th president of the United States, elected twice with pluralities in 1992 and 1996. Previously he served as governor of Arkansas. In the post-Cold War era his administration was characterized by reduced defence spending which produced a budget surplus, lower interest rates and excessive stock and real estate and bubbles.

Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives for obstruction of justice and perjury, while the Senate failed to convict along party lines. Clinton later was found in contempt by a federal judge for lying under oath and subsequently barred from ever practising law again.

Clinton and his wife, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, are credited with making commonplace the politics of demonization in modern American political discourse. He served out his term despite legislative defeats, repeated scandal (he was notorious for his sexist improprieties) and impeachment.[1]

After leaving the White House, he became a well-paid speaker in liberal circles. His wife, Hillary Clinton, was elected to the Senate from New York in 2000 and 2006, and in 2009 became the third female Secretary of State. Clinton was the major fundraiser and campaigner for his wife, but failed to win the African American vote to neutralize Hillary's main opponent, Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries.

Early Life

Clinton was born in Hope,[2] Arkansas, a month after his father William Jefferson Blythe II, a salesman, was killed in an auto accident. He was raised by his maternal grandparents until age 4, when his mother Virginia Kelly (1923-1994), a nurse, married Roger Clinton (1909-1967), a car dealer. Roger was an alcoholic and violent; the marriage was tempestuous, including a divorce and a remarriage in 1962. A life-long Southern Baptist, Clinton graduated from the Hot Springs public high school in 1964. He attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where he became active in Democratic politics and won prestigious Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University in England. He was a bit player in the anti-Vietnam war movement, and managed to stall the draft until he received a high lottery number, an evasion that became controversial in his first presidential campaign. He attended Yale Law School (JD 1973). A hail fellow well met, Clinton developed a vast network of friends. He met Hillary Clinton at Yale; they married in 1975 and had one daughter, Chelsea Clinton, born in 1980.

Arkansas Attorney General and Governor

After returning to Arkansas as a law professor at the university, Clinton was elected state Attorney General in 1976. In 1978, he was elected Governor of Arkansas, becoming the youngest governor in the country at age 32 . Though defeated in 1980, Clinton won back the governorship in 1982 and held it until becoming President in 1992.

Civil Rights violations

In December 1989 a three-judge district federal court held Bill Clinton's state-wide legislative reapportionment plan violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. 1973. 1990 the Supreme Court of the United States found in the case of Clinton vs Jeffers [3] the former Arkansas Governor and Democratic president had violated the Voting Rights Act. The Justices findings were,

Bill Clinton does not dispute here -- that "violations of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment justifying equitable relief have occurred in Arkansas."

In May 1990, the district court turned to those claims, holding that "the State of Arkansas has committed a number of constitutional violations of the voting rights of black citizens." J.S. App. A5. In particular, the court determined that the "State has systematically and deliberately enacted new majority-vote requirements for municipal offices, in an effort to frustrate black political success in elections traditionally requiring only a plurality to win." In 1990...Devotion to majority rule for local offices lay dormant as long as the plurality system produced white office-holders. But whenever black candidates used this system successfully -- and victory by a plurality has been virtually their only chance of success in at-large elections in majority-white cities – the response was swift and certain. Laws were passed in an attempt to close off this avenue of black political victory.

The court concluded

This series of laws represents a systematic and deliberate attempt to reduce black political opportunity. Such an attempt is plainly unconstitutional. It replaces a system in which blacks could and did succeed, with one in which they almost certainly cannot. The inference of racial motivation is inescapable.

Arkansas scandals

Clinton was involved in several scandals while Governor of Arkansas. He converted governmental resources for personal use by having Arkansas state policemen arrange and stand guard during his extramarital rendezvous with women.[4]

His close personal business partnerships with James and Susan McDougall in a failed Savings and Loan business venture led to investigation of the Whitewater affair. Several of the people involved with the sale of land prior to the Clinton presidency were indicted, but prosecutors never charged either Clintons with a crime.

Democratic Leadership Council

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formed in early 1985 to formulate a moderate Democratic agenda. With Al From as executive director and Georgia Senator Sam Nunn as chairman, DLC comprised mostly Southern Democratic congressmen. They sought to rebuild the party's image after a series of defeats by Reagan and Bush. They wanted to assure voters that the moderate-conservative wing of the party was alive and well, and that progressive policy initiatives may be marketable to mainstream America. After the Democrats 1988 defeat, From asked Clinton in March 1990 to become the first DLC Chair from outside Washington. He and Clinton recruited state and local officials from around the country for the DLC, trying out talking points for new spending authority initiatives developed by an affiliated think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). Proposals that found their way into Clinton's 1992 platform included:

  • Apprenticeship programs for non-college-bound skilled workers
  • A program of national service for college students (with student loan forgiveness)
  • A ROTC-style program to train new police officers in colleges
  • An enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor
  • Government-subsidized individual savings accounts for Social Security.

The two DLC manifestos and Clinton's 1991 "New Covenant" speech accounted for more than 60% of the spending promises in the 1992 Democratic platform. [5] Clinton campaigned as a "New Democrat," with an appeal to southerners and moderates that included demands for welfare reform and support for the death penalty.

1992 Presidential election

Main article: United States presidential election, 1992

After the surge of support for the war policy of President George H.W. Bush pushed his popularity to the 90% level, most prominent Democrats decided to wait out the 1992 election. Clinton's main rival, Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, called Clinton "pander bear" who "will say anything, do anything to get votes."[6] Appalled by the tone and direction of the campaign, billionaire Ross Perot entered the race (and briefly led the polls) and ran on a balanced budget. Both Bush and Perot proved poor campaigners, as Clinton and his running mate Al Gore promised a more responsive government. Republicans tried to use the character issue, questioning his failure to serve in the Vietnam War and stories of his illegal drug use in college days. But Bush was handicapped by a bad economy, and was wounded badly among moderates and conservatives for breaking a promise to not raise taxes. Clinton hammered away at the economy--"It's the economy, stupid!" explained his campaign manager. Clinton and Gore ran as "new Democrats", promising to cut middle class taxes, increase direct spending, end welfare cash payments "as we know it", and support capital punishment. Clinton won the electoral college decisively, and outpolled Bush 43% to 37%, with 19% for Perot.

Clinton thus entered Washington with a Democratic Congress and a vague agenda. As the first President born after World War II, Clinton represented the "baby-boom" generation.

1993-1997, U.S. Presidency

Main article: Clinton administration‎‎

Clinton was hailed by liberals and the media for his intellect. Alan Greenspan, who served six presidents in a long career said of Clinton after their first meeting, "for sheer intelligence, Bill Clinton was on a par with Richard Nixon."[7]

Community Reinvestment Act

Main article: Community Reinvestment Act

One of President Clinton's early acts was an overhaul of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). In 1995 the implementing regulations were strengthened by focusing government regulators' attention on a financial institutions' performance in doling out credit within specified communities. The new provisions[8] substantially increased the amount of subprime mortgages. Clinton's changes to the CRA increased the amount of home loans to unqualified low-income borrowers and, for the first time, allowed the securitization of CRA-regulated loans containing subprime mortgages.[9][10][11]

Howard Husock wrote:[12] "The Clinton administration has turned the Community Reinvestment Act into ...a vast extortion scheme against the nation's banks. Under its provisions, U.S. banks have committed nearly $1 trillion ... the evaluation process allowed advocacy groups a chance to express their views on individual banks" to receive a favourable CRA rating. These community groups worked out individual agreements and commitments from the Fannie Mae-backed lenders. A radical group called ACORN Housing "has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York; the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America has a $3-billion agreement with the Bank of America; a coalition of groups headed by New Jersey Citizen Action has a five-year, $13-billion agreement with First Union Corporation," among a host of others.

Clinton told Jim Lehrer in an interview on the PBS Newshour,[13] January 21, 1998,

The Community Reinvestment Act was set up to say to the bank regulators: Look, you guys go in and look at these banks and tell them, you got to take some of your money[14] and invest it in inner cities and neighborhoods, and with people who otherwise would not get it so they have a chance to build homes, to build businesses, to create jobs, to build neighborhoods. In the 20-year history of the Community Investment Act, 85 percent-plus the money loaned out under it to poor inner city neighborhoods has been loaned in the five years since I've been President.

The threat of civil action caused many mortgage lenders to make what otherwise would be considered risky loans. For example, the lead attorney for ACORN Housing, Barack Hussein Obama, sued Citibank in 1995 to force them into making subprime mortgages to unqualified minority borrowers. Obama alleged that, although his clients had been denied mortgages "because of delinquent credit obligations and adverse credit," they were really victims of institutional racism. The suit was brought about by the Community Reinvestment Act, so called "affirmative action mortgage lending." The plaintiffs won $60,000, Obama and two other attorneys were paid $950,000 [15]

Mexican Peso bailout

Bill Clinton's Presidential cabinet

Clinton refered to the Mexican bailout in his memoirs as, "one of the biggest crisis of my first term", and quotes Tom Friedman of the New York Times saying it was the "least popular, least understood, most important foreign policy decision of the Clinton presidency."[16] It was the brainchild of Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin and chief economic adviser Larry Summers who later served President Barack Obama in the same position. Clinton claims it took him 10 minutes to decide on the $20 billion bailout. Polls showed 79% of the American people opposed it, with little support in Congress.

Critics cite the modern bailout culture of the Recession of 2008 as originating with Clinton's Mexican bailout. It was allegedly designed to help Mexico using $20 billion from the U.S. Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund by Executive Order. Congress did not authorize it. And it was done, not for the Mexican banks sake, but for the big Wall Street banks, Citibank, Bankers Trust, and others that were over-exposed to risk for bad loans they made in Mexico. PBS's Bill Moyers calls it "Crony capitalism", "and so the idea got started that Washington would be there with a prop, with a bailout, with a helping hand." [17]

Budget and tax increases

Clinton's first priority while coming into office was a $60 billion stimulus package largely viewed as a payoff to big city mayors for Get-Out-The-Vote efforts. He also sent Congress a proposal to reduce the deficit in eleven years. However, the country's real problem was that about half of government spending goes to nondiscretionary entitlement programs such as social security and medicare. Refusing to control domestic spending, he increased taxes on ordinary consumers for gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas, breaking his campaign pledge not to raise taxes.[18] On Aug. 10, 1993, the largest tax increase in history was signed into law, raising taxes by almost $280 billion over five years.[19] Instead of middle-class tax relief, President Clinton chose to include in his $241 billion tax plan higher federal gasoline taxes, tax hikes on Social Security recipients, and steep income tax hikes on small business owners.[20] Conservatives blocked some proposals, such a new $71 billion BTU energy tax that would have cost the typical family nearly $500 per year.

Tax increases on the elderly

In 1993 President Clinton sought to increase taxes on Social Security benefits of the elderly and disabled.[21] The final version of the bill passed by the Democratically controlled Congress increased taxes on beneficiaries from the first 50% to 85%[22] of benefits (or "annuity payments" as they were originally called). Vice President Al Gore cast the deciding tie-breaker vote in the Senate to make the tax increase law. The Clinton-Gore tax increase on Social Security benefits imposed a 70% income tax rate on a retired couple making as little as $22,000 per year.[23]

DNC Fundraising

In 1994 Clinton invited his longtime golfing buddy, Sen. Christopher Dodd, to serve as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its chief fundraiser. Dodd also occupied the position of ranking Democrat, and later chairman of the Senate Banking Committee tasked with oversight of the nation's banks and financial institutions. Dodd left the DNC in 1997, after accusations that he mishandled charges that a top DNC fundraiser had collected millions in illegal donations.[24]

Dirty tricks and blackmail

FBI special agent Gary Aldrich reported, James Carville and former Clinton adviser, now ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos confirmed, after the Gingrich revolution of 1994 the Clinton administration ran a dirt-digging operation out of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff. "They hired upwards of 36 lawyers to staff the operation to handle 40 different cases," Aldrich, on White House duty at the time, said. "Once it became known that they had such an operation, then the blackmail itself took place." Carville and Stephanopoulos stated publicly there would be a "scorched-earth policy", and that everyone who had "skeletons in their closet" would be exposed.[25] CNN has reported private divorce papers of Newt Gingrich were indeed removed from what was alleged sealed storage at the Carroll County, Georgia courthouse, "when he (Gingrich) became the center of attention." The documents were later made public by CNN.[26]

In 1995 President Clinton and Congressional Republicans fought a bitter battle over the new federal budget. Clinton vetoed the Republican's efforts to move toward a balanced budget, claiming that it cut social programs. Speaker Gingrich believed that Clinton would back down and approve the budget. If not the entire government would shut down because of lack of funds. Clinton allowed just that, and by doing so gained political capital by successfully blaming that shut down on Republicans. Clinton always opposed a balanced budget until it was reality.

Don't ask don't tell

Main article : Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Another one of Clinton's first act was to propose and win legislation to enforce the Department of Defense's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule. The law passed by the Democratic Congress has been described as a major discriminatory policy which promoted and legitimized homophobia and bigotry. Time magazine reported it caused untold hardship and emotional anguish for thousands of American service personal.[27][28] In 2010 the law was found unconstitutional in federal court after a suit brought by Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual rights and advocacy organization.[29]

Failed healthcare takeover

Main article: Clinton health care plan of 1993

After ignoring the controversial issue on the campaign stump, one of his first acts in 1993 was a call for an immense overhaul of the nation's medical care system. The Clintons proposed a plan using regional insurance purchasing agencies along with tax subsidies and transfer payments to implement universal coverage. He and his advisers believed the plan would be acceptable to employers and larger insurance companies, but the plan was opposed by popular sentiment and a well-financed campaign. The pla put immense burdens on small business employers, which feared they could not afford it. The insurance industry, doctor organizations, and medical professionals also opposed it. Republicans argued that it was too costly and imposed too great a burden on government. Congressional Democrats were divided on the issue. Faced with public opposition and a two year national debate, the Clinton plan failed without the Democratic Congress even going on record to a vote.

Skocpol (1996) suggests the major mistake may have been in emphasizing the cost-reducing aspect of the plan, not realizing that Americans were willing to pay for a government program that would provide generous benefits to them. The fear that Clinton's proposals would lead to the sort of health care rationing prevalent in Canada and other countries further troubled the voters. Starr (1997) notes that Clinton sought to achieve liberal ends of universal coverage through the conservative means of managed competition among private health plans, with a backup cap on the rate of growth in average insurance premiums. This approach had a political as well as policy rationale. It was meant to be the basis of an alliance that could include conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans and thereby achieve the majorities necessary for congressional passage. But what we saw as compromise, they did not -- especially as the very locus of the political center shifted to the right during the debate. Health care reform that seemed "inevitable" to many serious observers at the start became unthinkable by the end. Polls showed strong initial support, but he never secured passage in either house of Congress and Republican victory in the 1994 elections doomed his plans.

1994 Midterm elections

Clinton's popularity had slipped by 1994 and the GOP, under Newt Gingrich launched a national midterm campaign based on a Republican "Contract with America. The centerpiece of the proposals was a balanced budget, along with lower taxes, welfare reform, tougher anti-crime laws, term limits for Congress, and revised rules in Congress. Clinton responded by calling it "extreme".[30]

In the elections of 1994, the Democrats lost 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and 8 seats in the Senate (followed by two defections after the election), giving the Republicans a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954. The Republicans also had a net gain of 12 governors' seats in that election.

Analysts have suggested many causes for the drastic change in political sentiment in the country between 1992 and 1994; among the causes suggested were voter disgust at Congressional scandals mainly implicating Democrats, voter distrust of Clinton after the presentation and defeat of the Clinton health care reform proposal--dubbed "Hillarycare"; the nationalization of the election by Gingrich's "Contract with America", and more skilled framing of issues by the Republicans in 1994.

In their first 100 days the House passed most items of the Contract with America. Eventually seven of ten items became law, with the term limits failing. Some GOP members voluntarily adhered to the term limit pledge.

1996 Presidential election

Main article: United States presidential election, 1996

After the Republicans took control of Congress by the time of the 1996 reelection campaign the economy had improved. Unemployment and inflation was low, American wages increased, crime rates fell, and the number of people on welfare declined. The Republican Party nominated Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole. Ross Perot ran again, this time on the Reform Party, but his day was past. Clinton won reelection with 49% of the popular vote. His personal victory had limited coattails, with Republicans retaining a clear majority in the Senate and a narrow majority in the House. It also marked the first time since 1926 and 1928 that the Republican Party carried the House in two consecutive elections.[31]

1997-2001, U.S. Presidency

With the Cold War over, the economy proved highly prosperous, and after the Republicans won control of Congress the budget was not only balanced but a surplus was produced for the first time in memory. The reasons include reduction in defense spending after the Cold War (from 5% of GDP to 3%), a revenue burst from the dot-com bubble (the short-lived overexpansion of high tech), restraints on spending imposed by Newt Gingrich and the GOP Congress, and the fruition of Reagan era tax cuts for business research and development in the consumer electronics (computer and cell phone) industry.


Shortly after taking office in 1993, Clinton had been sued by a woman alleging sexual harassment during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas. Clinton had studiously avoided being called to testify in the civil case during his first term by gaining postponements. Upon re-election, a federal judge ordered the accuser could finally exercise her rights and have her day in court, and the case should proceed.

In testimony under oath, Clinton committed perjury. A special prosecutor, looking into a host of corruption allegations dating back to Arkansas, was instructed to pursue the matter.

Clinton made history by becoming the first U.S. president to testify in front of a grand jury in an investigation of his own possibly criminal conduct. In an address to the nation, he admitted to having misled the public and a Federal Court over keys elements of testimony.

Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House for perjury. He was tried in the Senate for two counts: "perjury" and "obstruction of justice".[32] Although a majority of 55 Senators voted to convict, 45 voting against gained his acquittal, a two thirds majority necessary to remove him from office.

David Gergen, former White House Communications Director for both Presidents Reagan and Clinton, summarized the hurt of the President's misconduct:

The deep and searing violation took place when he not only lied to the country, but co-opted his friends and lied to them....when you have gone over the line, you won't bring others into it...You don't foul the nest."[33]

Clinton lost his law license because he had committed ethical violations for lying in federal court. It was during this scandal that Clinton famously stated: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is".[34]

Repeal of Glass-Steagall Act

President Clinton signed into law the Financial Modernization Act of 1999 in November of the same year. The Act repealed parts of the Depression era Glass-Steagall Act. In signing President Clinton remarked, "It is true that the Glass-Steagall law is no longer appropriate for the economy in which we live."[35]The Glass-Steagall Act strictly regulated Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) and the types of assets banks could hold as part of their capitalization. The formal repeal allowed for large banks, such as Goldman Sachs, to form newly created Financial Holding Companies (FHCs) and merge with insurers and other financial institutions with potentially riskier liabilities. By 2008, the result of the repeal of Glass-Steagall was "too big to fail" behemoths like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. The repeal of Glass-Steagall is considered one of the larger contributing factors to the Financial crisis of 2008.[36]

The repeal of Glass-Steagall also was recognition of other changes that had taken place, such as the Federal Reserves' revision of Regulation Y in 1997, making it easier for Bank Holding Companies with a satisfactory Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating to receive quicker approval for new acquisitions and engage in other activities. University of Texas-Dallas economist Stan Liebowitz noted, “Banks that got poor reviews were punished; some saw their merger plans frustrated; others faced direct legal challenges from the Justice Department.[37] Alice Rivlin, Clinton's Budget Director whom he later appointed to the Federal Reserve, said it would make the banking system "operate better as a result."[38]

When Citibank sought federal approval for a merger with Travelers Group, it was only OK'd by the Clinton administration after it promised to provide $115 billion for Community Reinvestment Act "anti-redling" loans. Promises made by other financial institutions added up to $600 billion between 1993 and 1998, according to a 2000 Treasury Department report.[39]


Franklin Raines, Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae, was appointed by Clinton as Director of the the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1996; in 1999, he returned to Fannie Mae as CEO. One of his first acts was to lower Fannie Mae's underwriting guidelines and begin purchasing subprime mortgages under the Community Reinvestment Act.[40] Raines was named (along with Bill Clinton) by Time magazine on it's list of 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis of 2008.[41]

Long-Term Capital Management

Main article: Long-Term Capital Management

Rahm Emanuel and Freddie Mac

Foreign Policy

Critics of Clinton argued that he lacked a knowledge of world affairs. In his 1992 speech at the Democrat National Convention, he devoted one minute to foreign policy issues in an oration that lasted an hour. [42] Clinton entered office after the U.S. won the Cold War, and the U.S. was the only superpower. There were no major foreign crisis during his presidency. His foreign policy was based on five principles: 1) strong alliances with Europe and Asia, 2) positive relations with former adversaries, 3) a global perspective on local conflicts, 4) the adaptation of national security priorities to incorporate technological advances, and 5) effective economic integration.[43]

Butfoy (2006) argues that in the 1990s the "revolution in military affairs" (RMA), which produced "smart" weapons like cruise missiles, came of age. This apparently transformed how America viewed the relationship between force and international relations. It looked as though technology was framing foreign policy. In particular, smart weapons enabled Clinton to combine risk minimization with an expanded security agenda. However, we should be wary of ascribing technological determinism to the conflicts of the 1990s dominated by Washington's flexing of its strategic superiority, such as its bombing of Belgrade. As shown by comparison with US strategy after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington's stance in the 1990s was shaped by linkages between technology and specific political circumstances. As these circumstances changed, so did the RMA's place in US efforts to shape world order.

North Korean nukes

From 1985 to 1992, N. Korea "bought time" for its nuclear weapons program by entering into a series of international diplomatic agreements under which it promised to "deweaponize" its reactors and halt further production of plutonium. By Clinton's second, however, N. Korea had violated the terms of most of the non-proliferation agreements and withdrew from the rest.

Clinton forged an agreement with Kim Il-sung that the North would temporarily halt its signed on Oct. 21, 1994 known as the "Agreed Framework."[44]

In addition to the oil supplied under the 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea continued to the United States and other countries for free, unconditional food aid while eschewing any real reform of its Stalinist agricultural system. [45]

By 2000, the United States contribution of food and other forms of humanitarian aid to North Korea had amounted to over $61 million.

Al-Qaeda and terrorism

The Arab terrorist group al-Qaeda conducted a World Trade Center bombing in 1993, simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Clinton bombed al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan in response, but meanwhile 19 terrorists were plotting an even more ghastly attack on America which took place on September 11, 2001, eight months after Clinton left office.

Human Rights

Supporters of human rights faulted Clinton’s ideological transition from Wilsonian idealism to realism, especially regarding China and Bosnia. They gave high marks for his efforts at pushing peace negotiations in Haiti and the Middle East, the use of economic sanctions against North Korea, India, and Pakistan, and his efforts to get a chemical weapons convention. However, they give low marks in terms of human rights for inaction on the genocide in Rwanda and the Russian repression of secessionist Chechnya.

Pardons controversy

FALN terrorists

On August 11, 1999, President Clinton offered clemency to members of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) terrorist group. [46] On January 24, 1975 the FALN bombed Fraunces Tavern in Manhattan killing four people. Over a six-year period, the group claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings that took six lives and injured some 130 people.[47] Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was credited with with an "unconscionable" effort to circumvent the standard pardon process, not consulting with the U.S. Department of Justice's pardon attorney and keeping deliberations hidden from the district U.S. attorney and investigative agencies.

Weather Underground

Weather Underground terrorists Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg also received pardons.[48]

Campaign contributors

Marc Rich and his wife Penny, who contributed $450,000 to Bill Clinton's campaigns, were granted last minute pardons for violating U.S. tax laws. Former President Jimmy Carter publicly called it "disgraceful".[49] Eric Holder, who later served as Barack Obama's Attorney General, arranged the pardons.[50]


Clinton has spent much of time since leaving office working for charitable causes such as support and fund-raising for the victims of AIDS and the Asian tsunami. In the case of the Indian Ocean tsunami, he teamed with former president George H.W. Bush to raise money for relief efforts.

Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, was elected Senator to New York in 2000. She was reelected in 2006. She made a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Clinton has been criticized by both liberals and conservatives for his actions in his wife's presidential campaign. Time called him "his wife's attack dog". [51] Although he had signed up most black leaders to support Hillary, the great majority of Black voters went for Obama. Clinton was accused of racism by implying that many voters chose Obama for reasons of race, rather than policy, saying that he succeeding in some regions for the same reason Jesse Jackson did.

After Obama refused to give Hillary the Vice Presidential nomination, both Clintons loyally campaigned for Obama. Obama easily defeated Senator John McCain, and named Hillary Secretary of State. Bill Clinton has maintained a low profile in 2009.


Of the $1.6 million Clinton earned in salary[52] as President for 8 years, Clinton agreed to pay $850,000,[53] or more than 53% in a legal settlement with Paula Jones to satisfy claims for damages to her reputation.

Every President since William Howard Taft in 1910 has served as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America during his term in office. In 2000 it was reported the Boy Scouts national office revoked the title afforded to Bill Clinton after thousands of complaints. Numerous Eagle Scouts returned their certificates of achievement bearing Clinton's signature and requested a replacement without it.[54]


Basic reading

  • Berman, William C. From the Center to the Edge: The Politics and Policies of the Clinton Presidency (2001) 160pp, useful summary and interpretation
  • Campbell, Colin, and Bert A. Rockman, eds. The Clinton Legacy 348 pp online edition
  • Clinton, Bill. My Life. (2004). ISBN 0-375-41457-6. excerpt and text search
  • Felsenthal, Carol. Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House‎ (2008) 386 pages
  • Gillon, Steve. The pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the rivalry that defined a generation‎ (2008) 342 pages, by a leading historian; excerpt and text search
  • Hamilton, Nigel. Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency (2007) covers 1993-96, 766pp excerpt and text search
  • Harris, John F. The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House (2005) ISBN 0-375-50847-3, the best coverage of the presidency excerpt and text search
  • Hyland, William G. Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (1999) ISBN 0-275-96396-9 online edition
  • Klein, Joe. The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton (2003) by leading journalist online excerpt and search; excerpt and text search
  • Levy, Peter. Encyclopedia of the Clinton Presidency (2002), 400pp; 230 well-balanced articles
  • Maraniss, David, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton (1996) ISBN 0-684-81890-6. Biography to 1991. excerpt and text search
  • Posner, Richard A. An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton (1999) ISBN 0-674-00080-3 online edition
  • Schantz, Harvey L. Politics in an Era of Divided Government: Elections and Governance in the Second Clinton Administration (2001) online edition
  • Schier, Steven E. The Postmodern Presidency: Bill Clinton's Legacy in U.S. Politics (2000) excerpt and text search

Biographical and Presidential

  • Barber, Benjamin. The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House‎ (2008) 336 pages excerpt and text search
  • Berman, William C. From the Center to the Edge: The Politics and Policies of the Clinton Presidency (2001) 160pp, useful summary and interpretation
  • Campbell, Colin, and Bert A. Rockman, eds. The Clinton Legacy 348 pp online edition
  • Congressional Quarterly. Congress and the Nation 1993-1997: A Review of Government and Politics: 103rd and 104th Congresses (1998); Congress and the Nation 1997-2001: A Review of Government and Politics: 105th and 106th Congresses (2002). Highly detailed nonpartisan coverage (1200 pp each) of all political issues, including presidency
  • Gillon, Steve. The pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the rivalry that defined a generation‎ (2008) 342 pages, by a leading historian; excerpt and text search
  • Hamilton, Nigel. Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency (2007) covers 1993-96, 766pp excerpt and text search* Harris, John F. The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House (2005) ISBN 0-375-50847-3, the best coverage of the presidency excerpt and text search
  • Klein, Joe. The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton (2003) by leading journalist online excerpt and search; excerpt and text search
  • Levy, Peter. Encyclopedia of the Clinton Presidency (2002), 400pp; 230 well-balanced articles
  • Schantz, Harvey L. Politics in an Era of Divided Government: Elections and Governance in the Second Clinton Administration (2001) online edition
  • Schier, Steven E. The Postmodern Presidency: Bill Clinton's Legacy in U.S. Politics (2000) excerpt and text search

Clinton to 1992

  • Abbott, Philip. "A 'Long and Winding Road': Bill Clinton and the 1960s," Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9.1 (2006) 1-20 in Project Muse
  • Borrelli, Stephen A. "Finding the Third Way: Bill Clinton, the DLC, and the Democratic Platform of 1992," Journal of Policy History Vol. 13#4 (2001), pp. 429-462 in Project Muse
  • Goldman, Peter L. et al, Quest for the Presidency, 1992 (1994) online edition
  • Maraniss, David, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton (1996) ISBN 0-684-81890-6. Biography to 1991. excerpt and text search

Foreign Policy

  • Butfoy, Andrew. "The Rise and Fall of Missile Diplomacy? President Clinton and the 'Revolution in Military Affairs' in Retrospect." Australian Journal of Politics and History 2006 52(1): 98-114. Issn: 0004-9522 Fulltext: in Ebsco online complete editon
  • Cohen, Warren I. America's Failing Empire: U.S. Foreign Relations since the Cold War. 2005. 204 pp.
  • Davis; John. "The Evolution of American Grand Strategy and the War on Terrorism: Clinton and Bush Perspectives" White House Studies, Vol. 3, 2003
  • Hendrickson, Ryan C. The Clinton Wars: The Constitution, Congress, and War Powers (2002)
  • Hyland, William G. Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (1999) ISBN 0-275-96396-9 online edition
  • Jewett, Aubrey W. and Marc D. Turetzky. "Stability and Change in President Clinton's Foreign Policy Beliefs, 1993-96" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998 online edition
  • Livingston, C. Don, Kenneth A. Wink; "The Passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the U.S. House of Representatives: Presidential Leadership or Presidential Luck?" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997 online edition
  • Maclean, George A. Clinton's Foreign Policy in Russia: From Deterrence and Isolation to Democratization and Engagement (2006) excerpt and text search

Domestic Policy

  • Edwards; George C. "Bill Clinton and His Crisis of Governance" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998 in Questia
  • Fisher; Patrick. "Clinton's Greatest Legislative Achievement? the Success of the 1993 Budget Reconciliation Bill" White House Studies, Vol. 1, 2001 in Questia
  • Greenspan, Alan. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (2007), memoir by head of Federal Reserve and text search
  • Harris, John F. The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House. (2005) covers the major policy issues excerpt and text search
  • Lanoue, David J. and Craig F. Emmert; "Voting in the Glare of the Spotlight: Representatives' Votes on the Impeachment of President Clinton" Polity, Vol. 32, 1999
  • Needham, Catherine. "Brand Leaders: Clinton, Blair and the Limitations of the Permanent Campaign." Political Studies 2005 53(2): 343-361. Issn: 0032-3217 Fulltext: in Ebsco
  • Nie; Martin A. "'It's the Environment, Stupid!': Clinton and the Environment" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, 1997 online edition
  • Patterson, James T. Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush vs. Gore (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Poveda; Tony G. "Clinton, Crime, and the Justice Department" Social Justice, Vol. 21, 1994 online edition
  • Renshon; Stanley A. The Clinton Presidency: Campaigning, Governing, and the Psychology of Leadership Westview Press, 1995
  • Schantz, Harvey L. Politics in an Era of Divided Government: Elections and Governance in the Second Clinton Administration (2001) ISBN 0-8153-3583-0
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E. The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade (2004) economic history; excerpt and text search
  • Wattenberg; Martin P. "The Democrats' Decline in the House during the Clinton Presidency: An Analysis of Partisan Swings" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999 online edition

Polls, campaign, images, character, scandals

  • Blaney, Joseph R. and William L. Benoit. The Clinton Scandals and the Politics of Image Restoration, (2001) excerpt and text search online edition
  • Borrelli, Stephen A. "Finding the Third Way: Bill Clinton, the DLC, and the Democratic Platform of 1992," Journal of Policy History Vol. 13, #4 (2001), pp. 429-462 in Project Muse
  • Cohen; Jeffrey E. "The Polls: Change and Stability in Public Assessments of Personal Traits, Bill Clinton, 1993-99" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 31, 2001
  • Cronin, Thomas E. and Michael A. Genovese; "President Clinton and Character Questions" Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 28, 1998
  • Denton Jr. Robert E. The 1992 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, (1994) online edition
  • Denton Jr. Robert E. The 1996 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective, (1998) online edition
  • Denton Jr. Robert E. and Rachel L. Holloway, eds. The Clinton Presidency: Images, Issues, and Communication Strategies, 1996 online edition
  • Denton Jr. Robert E. and Rachel L. Holloway, eds. Images, Scandal, and Communication Strategies of the Clinton Presidency (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Glad; Betty. "Evaluating Presidential Character" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 28, 1998 online edition
  • Maurer; Paul J. "Media Feeding Frenzies: Press Behavior during Two Clinton Scandals" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999 online edition
  • O'Connor; Brendon. "Policies, Principles, and Polls: Bill Clinton's Third Way Welfare Politics 1992-1996" The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 48, 2002
  • Posner, Richard A. An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton (1999) ISBN 0-674-00080-3 online edition
  • Renshon, Stanley A. "The Polls: The Public's Response to the Clinton Scandals, Part 1: Inconsistent Theories, Contradictory Evidence" Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 32, 2002 online edition
  • Renshon; Stanley A. The Clinton Presidency: Campaigning, Governing, and the Psychology of Leadership (1995) online edition
  • Starr, Kenneth. The Starr Report: The Findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair (1998) ISBN 1-891620-24-X
  • Whittington, Keith E. "The Rhetorical Presidency, Presidential Authority and President Clinton," Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 26, 1997
  • Waldman, Michael. POTUS Speaks: Finding the Words That Defined the Clinton Presidency (2000) ISBN 0-7432-0020-9
  • Wattier; Mark J. "The Clinton Factor: The Effects of Clinton's Personal Image in 2000 Presidential Primaries and in the General Election" White House Studies, Vol. 4, 2004
  • Weisberg, Herbert F., and Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier. Reelection 1996: How Americans Voted, 1999 online edition

Health reform

  • Blendon, R. J., M. Brodie, and J. Benson. "What Happened to Americans' Support of the Clinton Plan?" Health Affairs 1995. 14(2):7-23. online edition, analysis of poll data
  • Fox, Daniel M. "A Lost Cause: Bill Clinton's Campaign for National Health Insurance, and: The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton's Plan for Health Security," Bulletin of the History of Medicine vol. 73, # 2, Summer 1999, pp. 367-369 in Project Muse
  • Laham, Nicholas, A Lost Cause: Bill Clinton's Campaign for National Health Insurance (1996) online edition
  • Rushefsky, Mark E. and Kant Patel. Politics, Power & Policy Making: The Case of Health Care Reform in the 1990s (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Skocpol, Theda. Boomerang: Clinton's Health Security Effort and the Turn Against Government in U.S. Politics, (1996) excerpt and text search

Primary sources



  1. Whittington (1997)
  2. Mike Huckabee was born in Hope in 1955, but did not know Clinton.
  3. Findings of the Supreme Court of the United States in Clinton vs Jeffers No. 90-394 (1990) on appeal 730 F. Supp. 196, 198-201 (ED Ark. 1989) (three-judge court), aff'd, No. 89-2008 (Jan. 7, 1991).
  4. Thomas C. Reeves, Why Troopergate matters to voters, Insight on the News, April 4, 1994.
  5. Borrelli, 432-35
  6. THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Democrats; Saying Clinton Is Cynical, Tsongas Goes on the Attack, By RICHARD L. BERKE, New York Times, March 07, 1992.
  7. [Alan Greenspan, The Age of Turbulence, Penguin Press, 2007, p. 144.]
  8. Clinton Administration Further Liberalizes the Community Reinvestment Act. The White House.
  9. Congress Tries To Fix What It Broke. Investor's Business Daily (2008-09-17).
  10. Skousen, Mark (2008-09-17). Ride out Wall Street's hurricane - The real reasons we're in this mess – and how to clean it up. Christian Science Monitor.
  12. The Trillion-Dollar Bank Shakedown That Bodes Ill for Cities, Howard Husock, City Journal, Winter 2000
  13. Bill Clinton, PBS Newshour, January 21, 1998. youtube
  14. (sic) a bank does not invest its own money, it lends out depositors money under the prudent man rule; President Clinton obviously was in error in this gross misstatement or distortion of fundamental facts regarding the responsibilities of people entrusted to make judgements in handling other peoples money.
  15. A Poisonous Cocktail: Expanding the Community Reinvestment Act, Peter Schweizer, Forbes, 10.05.09. Selma S. Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank,
  16. My Life, Bill Clinton, Knopf, 2004, pp. 641-645.
  17. [Crony Capitalism,] Moyers and Company, PBS, January 20, 2012.
  18. Clinton repeatedly mocked incumbent President George H.W. Bush on the campaign trail for breaking his pledge to "read my lips, no new taxes."
  19. J.D. Foster, Ph.D. Tax Cuts, Not the Clinton Tax Hike, Produced the 1990s Boom, The Heritage Foundation, March 4, 2008.
  20. The President's Forgotten Middle Class, Joint Economic Committee, Majority Staff, 3/22/96.
  21. http://www.house.gov/house/Contract/seniorsd.txt
  22. http://web.archive.org/web/20040408115747/www.ssa.gov/OACT/HOP/hopi.htm
  23. Congressional Record, Comments by Rep. Christopher Cox, July 27, 2000.
  24. Christopher J. Dodd, The Washington Post.
  25. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_23_16/ai_62896460/
  26. http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/26/politics/gingrich-divorce-file/index.html
  27. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1903545,00.html?imw=Y
  28. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1903545,00.html?imw=Y
  29. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39089475/ns/us_news-life/
  30. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, mainstream media outlets routinely used the terms "extremist" and "terrorist" interchangeably, and were only too willing to oblige demonizing Republicans and Republican ideas as "extremist".
  31. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/bostonherald/access/17342942.html?dids=17342942:17342942&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Nov+11%2C+1996&author=Don+Fedr&pub=Boston+Herald&desc=A+night+to+cheer+for+conservatives&pqatl=google
  32. The House turned down two other counts: "abuse of power" as well as another count of "perjury" in connection with the Paula Jones case.
  33. In Washington, That Letdown Feeling, By Sally Quinn, The Washington Post, November 2, 1998, Page E01
  34. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/21/newsid_2525000/2525339.stm
  36. Repeal of Glass-Steagall Caused the Financial Crisis, By James Rickards, USNews, August 27, 2012.
  37. The Economist, Mar. 20, 2008.
  38. Regulation Y Revised - Changes to the Federal Reserve Application Process, Community Investments, Volume 9; No. 3; Summer 1997, By Mike Johnson, Applications Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  39. [Subprime Bubble,] Investors Business Daily, 09/04/2012.
  40. Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending, Steven A. Holmes, New York Times, September 30, 1999.
  41. The good intentions, bad managers and greed : behind the meltdown, Blameworthy : Frank Raines, Time magazine.
  42. The Presidents by David Maraniss, Pg. 626
  43. Samuel R. Berger, "A Foreign Policy for the Global Age," Foreign Affairs 2000 79(6): 22-39. 0015-7120
  44. http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aankorea.htm
  45. http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/crs/91-141.htm
  46. U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony available at http://www.senate.gov/~judiciary/wl91599.htm, The Tampa Tribune, S.J.Res. 33 (passed 95-2).
  47. Clinton Pardons Terror, New York Post, August 13, 1999. retrieve from http://www.latinamericanstudies.org September 14, 2007.
  48. Confirming Fears, Editorial, National Review Online, November 19, 2008.
  49. Hillbuzz.
  50. CNN.
  51. http://media.www.tuftsdaily.com/media/storage/paper856/news/2008/01/28/OpEd/Editorial.On.The.Campaign.Trail.Bill.Clinton.Should.Keep.His.Mouth.Shut-3171498.shtml
  52. http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/wjclinton.html
  53. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/jones111498.htm
  54. Eagle Scouts drop Clinton signature, WorldNetCaily.com, August 24, 2000.