Bill Clinton

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United States President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton;

Forty-second President of the United States

Born August 19, 1946
Term 1993-2001

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (August 19, 1946 - present) served as the 42nd President of the United States of America from 1993-2001, following George H. W. Bush and preceding George W. Bush. Elected into office twice, term limits prevented running for a third term.

Early Life

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946 AD in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr. died in a car accident while his mother was pregnant with him. Clinton's mother later married Roger Clinton, and the four year-old William was given his stepfather's name.[3]

Clinton was active in high school, participating in various student government organizations as well as playing the saxophone. Roger Clinton, however, made Bill's family life unpleasant by repeatedly abusing Clinton's mother and her children. Bill Clinton would eventually stand up to his stepfather in high school, forcing him to stop beating his mother and kicking him out of the house. [[4]] After Roger Clinton underwent alcohol rehabilitation, he would eventually rejoin the family.

Clinton attended Georgetown University, then Oxford University after receiving a Rhodes Scholarship, and finally earned a Juris Doctorate from Yale University in 1973 AD. At Yale he met Hillary Rodham, whom he would later marry [5].

Early Political Career

After returning to live in Arkansas, Clinton was elected Attorney General of Arkansas in 1976 AD. Two years later, he was elected Governor of Arkansas, becoming the youngest governor in the country as a 32 year-old. Though defeated in 1980 AD, Clinton won back the governorship in 1982 AD and held it until becoming President in 1992 AD.


Presidency

Poster to end the "racist occupation of Somalia"; eighteen US soldiers were killed and some of their bodies were bodies were dragged through the streets, [2]

Despite never winning a majority of the popular vote during either of his elections (although he did win the popular vote over other candidates), President Clinton enjoyed very good public approval ratings during parts of his second term.[1] Clinton won in 1992 with 43% of the popular vote versus President George H. W. Bush's 37%, capitalizing on public discontent with a weak economy and public displeasure with Bush's proposed tax increases, and Ross Perot, a third candidate. In his first two years in office, 1993 through 1994, Clinton was unable to "reform" health-care in the United States with a socialized health-care plan. It was a tough sell in the wake of the collapse of Soviet Bloc only a few years earlier. His approach consisted of appointing a planning committee with secret members to reshape this important sector of the economy.[Citation Needed] The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons successfully sued to force disclosure of the committee financing, expenses and membership. The program ultimately became so unpopular after two years the Democratically controlled Congress shielded its members records by never bringing it to floor for a vote.

In 1994, voters expressed their high disapproval of Clinton by giving a landslide victory to Republicans in Congress. It was the first time Republicans controlled both houses of Congress in several decades. This event was tagged the "Republican Revolution," and began a series of showdowns with the Republican-led Congress.[Citation Needed] These showdowns were epitomized by the budget conflict with then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in 1995. Gingrich refused to pass Clinton's budget proposal, and the latter threatened to shut down the government as Reagan had done in the 1980s. Clinton did not back down, however, and eventually had his budget passed [6]. This showdown backfired for the Republicans, as it reinvigorated Clinton's flagging approval ratings and cost the Republicans in the next election. Ultimately, it also led to Newt Gingrich's replacement by his own party.

In late 1995, President Clinton dispatched some 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia.

Clinton was reelected in 1996 and carried 49.2% of the popular vote against Republican candidate ( Bob Dole), who won 41%, and "populist" candidate, H. Ross Perot, who won 8%. Clinton spent a lot of the remainder of his presidency combating scandals. A special prosecutor's report was not released until well into Clinton's second term, and brought documented Clinton giving false testimony in a civil lawsuit while President which resulted in his impeachment and disbarment from the legal profession.[Citation Needed] The main charge was that he had committed perjury in a civil suit. The perjured testimony directly related to an attempt to defraud the plainitff of damages. The Senate failed to make clear what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors. [2],

During Clinton's presidency the terrorist group al-Qaeda conducted the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, simulataneous bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Terrorist leader Osama bin Laden issued two public fatwas declaring War on America. [3] In the 1998 fatwa>[4] bin Laden told jihadists worldwide,

Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge, but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut, Aden and Mogadishu. [5]

Bin Laden told ABC News at the time, "We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets." [6]

Clinton also signed into law the Violence Against Women Act, which opened the federal courts to claims of domestic disputes between men and women, which had always been handled under state rather than federal law. Portions regarding civil rights remedies were later found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Whitewater Affair

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

Impeachment

On Aug. 17, 1998, after relentless media attention, leaks, and news of Lewinsky's upcoming testimony, 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 had an "inappropriate relationship" with Lewinsky. This seemed to go against his earlier finger wagging denial in another address to the nation. Although Clinton was not honest earlier, he still claimed that he did not ask anyone to lie about or cover up the affair.

Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor in the case, pursued the matter.

Clinton became the second sitting president to be impeached by the US House of Representatives. During his second term Clinton was accused of perjury in connection to the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. The US Senate voted to acquit him. He later lost his law license in Arkansas.

After the Presidency

Clinton has spent much of time since leaving office raising money in personal speaking engagements. He settled in New York. Still very popular, he and former President George H.W. Bush were both called upon to be ambassadors for the United States and help raise money for the relief efforts for the Indonesian tsunami by the current President George Bush.

Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, was elected Senator to New York in 2000. Reelected in 2006, she is now seeking the Democratic nomination for president 2008. Despite living in the same state, they very seldom see each other.

Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff was John Podesta between 1998-2001.

References

  1. [1]
  2. Statement by Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut), Congressional Record for Friday, February 12, 1999.
  3. Bin Laden's Declaration of War, 1998.
  4. Bernard Lewis, License to Kill, Foreign Affairs, November/December 1998.
  5. October 1997: Ali Mohamed Tells FBI He Helped Al-Qaeda Kill US Soldiers, But FBI Takes No Action
  6. The 9-11 Commission Report, The Foundation of the New Terrorism, Official Government Edition, GPO, 2004.