Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton.jpg
42nd President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Vice President Al Gore
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by George W. Bush
40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
Preceded by Frank D. White
Succeeded by Jim Guy Tucker
In office
January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981
Lieutenant Joe Purcell
Preceded by Joe Purcell (Acting)
Succeeded by Frank D. White
50th Attorney General of Arkansas
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 9, 1979
Preceded by Jim Guy Tucker
Succeeded by Steve Clark
Personal details
Born William Jefferson Blythe III
(1946-08-19) August 19, 1946 (age 71)
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Hillary Rodham (m. 1975)
Children Chelsea
Education Georgetown University ( BS)
University College, Oxford
Yale University ( JD)
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom
Signature Cursive signature of Bill Clinton in ink

William Jefferson Clinton ( Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat and many of his policies reflected a centrist " Third Way" political philosophy.

Clinton was born and raised in Arkansas and attended Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, and Yale Law School. He met Hillary Rodham at Yale and married her in 1975. After graduating from Yale, Clinton returned to Arkansas and won election as the Attorney General of Arkansas, serving from 1977 to 1979. As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton overhauled the state's education system and served as chairman of the National Governors Association. Clinton was elected president in 1992, defeating incumbent Republican opponent George H. W. Bush. At age 46, he became the third-youngest president and the first from the Baby Boomer generation.

Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history and signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement, but failed to pass his plan for national health care reform. In the 1994 elections, the Republican Party won unified control of the Congress for the first time in 40 years. In 1996, Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected to a second full term. Clinton passed welfare reform and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, as well as financial deregulation measures, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice, relating to a sex scandal involving White House employee Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in 1999 and proceeded to complete his term in office. Clinton is only the second U.S. president to ever be impeached. During the last three years of Clinton's presidency, the Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus, the first such surplus since 1969. In foreign policy, Clinton ordered U.S. military intervention in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, signed the Iraq Liberation Act in opposition to Saddam Hussein, participated in the 2000 Camp David Summit to advance the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, and assisted the Northern Ireland peace process.

Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II, and he has continually received high ratings in public opinion polls of U.S. presidents. Since leaving office, Clinton has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. He created the William J. Clinton Foundation to address international causes, such as the prevention of AIDS and global warming. He has remained active in politics by campaigning for Democratic candidates, including his wife's presidential campaigns and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. In 2004, Clinton published his autobiography, My Life. In 2009, Clinton was named the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he teamed with George W. Bush to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

Early life and career

Clinton's childhood home in Hope, Arkansas

Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. [1] [2] He was the son of William Jefferson Blythe Jr. (1918–1946), a traveling salesman who had died in an automobile accident three months before his birth, and Virginia Dell Cassidy (later Virginia Kelley: 1923–1994). [3] His parents had married on September 4, 1943, but this union later proved to be bigamous, as Blythe was still married to his third wife. [4] Soon after Bill was born, Virginia traveled to New Orleans to study nursing. She left her son in Hope with her parents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and ran a small grocery store. [2] At a time when the southern United States was racially segregated, Clinton's grandparents sold goods on credit to people of all races. [2] In 1950, Bill's mother returned from nursing school and married Roger Clinton Sr., who owned an automobile dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his brother and Earl T. Ricks. [2] The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950. [5]

Although he immediately assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Clinton turned 15 [6] that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather. [2] Clinton said that he remembered his stepfather as a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and half-brother, Roger Clinton Jr., to the point where he intervened multiple times with the threat of violence to protect them. [2] [7]

Clinton with his saxophone at the White House in 1996. He began playing the saxophone in elementary school. At one point, Clinton considered pursuing a career in music.

In Hot Springs, Clinton attended St. John's Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School, where he was an active student leader, avid reader, and musician. [2] Clinton was in the chorus and played the tenor saxophone, winning first chair in the state band's saxophone section. He briefly considered dedicating his life to music, but as he noted in his autobiography My Life:

Sometime in my sixteenth year, I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service. [2]

Clinton began an interest in law at Hot Springs High, when he took up the challenge to argue the defense of the ancient Roman Senator Catiline in a mock trial in his Latin class. [8] After a vigorous defense that made use of his "budding rhetorical and political skills", he told the Latin teacher Elizabeth Buck that it "made him realize that someday he would study law". [9]

Clinton has identified two influential moments in his life, both occurring in 1963, that contributed to his decision to become a public figure. One was his visit as a Boys Nation senator to the White House to meet President John F. Kennedy. [2] [7] The other was watching Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 I Have a Dream speech on TV, which impressed him enough that he later memorized it. [10]

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