Bill Clinton

BILL CLINTON

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Bill Clinton Wikipedia



"William Clinton" redirects here. For other uses, see William Clinton (disambiguation).
Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton.jpg
42nd President of the United States
In office


January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Vice PresidentAl Gore
Preceded byGeorge H. W. Bush
Succeeded byGeorge W. Bush
40th & 42nd Governor of Arkansas
In office


January 11, 1983 – December 12, 1992
LieutenantWinston Bryant


Jim Tucker
Preceded byFrank D. White
Succeeded byJim Guy Tucker
In office


January 9, 1979 – January 19, 1981
LieutenantJoe Purcell
Preceded byJoe Purcell (Acting)
Succeeded byFrank White
50th Attorney General of Arkansas
In office


January 3, 1977 – January 9, 1979
GovernorDavid Pryor


Joe Purcell (Acting)
Preceded byJim Guy Tucker
Succeeded bySteve Clark
Personal details
BornWilliam Jefferson Blythe III

(1946-08-19) August 19, 1946 (age 67)


Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Hillary Rodham (m. 1975)
RelationsRoger Clinton, Jr. (half-brother)
ChildrenChelsea Clinton (b. 1980)
ParentsWilliam Jefferson Blythe, Jr.


Virginia Clinton Kelley
Alma materGeorgetown University (B.S.)


University College, Oxford


Yale University (J.D.)
ReligionBaptist
SignatureCursive signature of Bill Clinton in ink
WebsiteClinton Presidential Library
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served from 1993 to 2001 as the 42nd President of the United States. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president from the baby boomer generation. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance. Before becoming president, he was the Governor of Arkansas for five two-year terms, serving from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992. He was also the state's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Clinton became both a student leader and a skilled musician. He is an alumnus of Georgetown University, where he was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Phi Beta Kappa (the latter signifying that he finished in the top 10% of his Georgetown class) and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford. He is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served as United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and who was a Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. Both Clintons received law degrees from Yale Law School, where they met and began dating. As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton overhauled the state's education system, and served as Chair of the National Governors Association.

Clinton was elected president in 1992, defeating incumbent George H. W. Bush. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history, and signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement. After failing to pass national health care reform, the Democratic House was ousted when the Republican Party won control of the Congress in 1994 for the first time in 40 years. Two years later, Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected president twice. He passed welfare reform and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, providing health coverage for millions of children. In 1998, he was impeached for perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice during a lawsuit against him, both related to a scandal involving a White House intern. He was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and served his complete term of office. The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus between the years 1998 and 2000, the last three years of Clinton's presidency.

Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II. Since then, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Clinton created the William J. Clinton Foundation to address international causes such as the prevention of AIDS and global warming. In 2004, he published his autobiography My Life. He has remained active in politics by campaigning for Democratic candidates, most notably for his wife's campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and then Barack Obama's presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. In 2009, he was named 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. Since leaving office, Clinton has been rated highly in public opinion polls of U.S. presidents.

Contents

          Early life and career




          William Jefferson Blythe III, in 1950 at age four
          Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (1918–1946), was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. His mother, Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans to study nursing soon after he was born. She left Bill in Hope with her parents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and ran a small grocery store. At a time when the Southern United States was segregated racially, Bill's grandparents sold goods on credit to people of all races. 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. The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950.



          Bill Clinton's boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas
          Although he assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned fifteen that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather. Clinton says he remembers 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.

          In Hot Springs, Bill 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. 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."


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

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

          College and law school years

          Georgetown University




          Clinton ran for President of the Student Council while attending the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
          With the aid of scholarships, Clinton attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.) degree in 1968. In 1964 and 1965 he won elections for class president. From 1964 to 1967 he was an intern and then a clerk in the office of Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. While in college, he became a brother of co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Clinton was also a member of the Order of DeMolay, a youth group affiliated with Freemasonry, but he never became a Freemason. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity.

          Rhodes Scholar

          Upon graduation, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College, Oxford where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, though because he had switched programs and had left early for Yale University, he did not receive a degree there. He developed an interest in rugby union, playing at Oxford and later for the Little Rock Rugby club in Arkansas.

          Vietnam War opposition and draft controversy

          While at Oxford he also participated in Vietnam War protests and organized an October 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam event.

          Clinton received Vietnam War draft deferments during 1968 and 1969 while he was in England. Planning to attend law school in the U.S, and aware that he might lose his draft deferment, he tried unsuccessfully to obtain positions in the National Guard or Air Force, and then made arrangements to join the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at the University of Arkansas.

          He subsequently decided not to join the ROTC, saying in a letter to the officer in charge of the program he had planned to join that he opposed the war, but didn't think it was honorable to use ROTC or Reserve service to avoid serving. He further stated that because he opposed the war, he wouldn't volunteer to serve in uniform, but would subject himself to the draft and serve if called only "to maintain my political viability within the system." Clinton registered for the draft and received a high number (311), meaning that those whose birthdays had been drawn as numbers 1 to 310 would have to be drafted before him, which was unlikely. Clinton's political opponents charge that he used Fulbright's influence to avoid military service. Colonel Eugene Holmes, the Army officer who had been involved with Clinton's ROTC application, suspected that Clinton attempted to manipulate the situation into a way to avoid the draft and avoid serving in uniform. He issued a notarized statement during the 1992 presidential campaign: "I was informed by the draft board that it was of interest to Senator Fulbright's office that Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, should be admitted to the ROTC program ... I believe that he purposely deceived me, using the possibility of joining the ROTC as a ploy to work with the draft board to delay his induction and get a new draft classification."

          During the 1992 campaign it was revealed that Clinton's uncle had also attempted to secure him a position in the Navy Reserve, which would have kept him from going to Vietnam. This effort was unsuccessful and Clinton said in 1992 that he had been unaware of it until then. Although legal, Clinton's actions with respect to the draft and deciding whether to serve in the military were criticized by conservatives and some Vietnam veterans during his first presidential campaign. On the other hand, Clinton's 1992 campaign manager, James Carville, successfully argued that Clinton's letter in which he declined to join the ROTC should be made public, insisting that voters, many of whom had also opposed the Vietnam War, would understand and appreciate his position.

          Law school

          After Oxford, Clinton attended Yale Law School and earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1973. In a Yale library in 1971 he met fellow law student Hillary Rodham, who was a year ahead of him. They began dating and soon were inseparable. After only about a month, Clinton postponed his plans to be a coordinator for the George McGovern campaign for the 1972 United States presidential election in order to move in with her in California. They married on October 11, 1975, and their only child, Chelsea, was born on February 27, 1980.

          Clinton did eventually move to Texas with Rodham to take a job leading George McGovern's effort there in 1972. He spent considerable time in Dallas, at the campaign's local headquarters on Lemmon Avenue, where he had an office. Clinton worked with future two-term mayor of Dallas, Ron Kirk, future governor of Texas, Ann Richards, and then unknown television director (and future filmmaker) Steven Spielberg.

          Political career 1978–1992

          Further information: Electoral history of Bill Clinton

          Governor of Arkansas

          Further information: Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1978, Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1980 and Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1982
          After graduating from Yale Law School, Clinton returned to Arkansas and became a law professor at the University of Arkansas. In 1974 he ran for the House of Representatives. Running in a conservative district against incumbent Republican John Paul Hammerschmidt, Clinton's campaign was bolstered by the anti-Republican and anti-incumbent mood resulting from the Watergate scandal. Hammerschmidt, who had received 77 percent of the vote in 1972, defeated Clinton by only a 52 percent to 48 percent margin. In 1976 Clinton ran for Arkansas Attorney General. With only minor opposition in the primary and no opposition at all in the general election, Clinton was elected.



          Clinton, as the newly elected Governor of Arkansas, meeting with President Jimmy Carter in 1978
          Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978, having defeated the Republican candidate Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana. He became the youngest governor in the country at 32. Due to his youthful appearance, Clinton was often called the "Boy Governor." He worked on educational reform and Arkansas's roads, with wife Hillary leading a successful committee on urban health care reform. However, his term included an unpopular motor vehicle tax and citizens' anger over the escape of Cuban refugees (from the Mariel boatlift) detained in Fort Chaffee in 1980. Monroe Schwarzlose of Kingsland in Cleveland County, polled 31 percent of the vote against Clinton in the Democratic gubernatorial primary of 1980. Some suggested Schwarzlose's unexpected voter turnout foreshadowed Clinton's defeat in the general election that year by Republican challenger Frank D. White. As Clinton once joked, he was the youngest ex-governor in the nation's history.

          Clinton joined friend Bruce Lindsey's Little Rock law firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings. In 1982, he was again elected governor and kept the office for ten years. Beginning with the 1986 election, Arkansas had changed its gubernatorial term of office from 2 to 4 years. During his term he helped transform Arkansas's economy and significantly improve the state's educational system.[citation needed] He became a leading figure among the New Democrats. The New Democrats, organized as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), called for welfare reform, smaller government, and other policies not supported by traditional liberals, arguing that the path to the party's electoral success at the national level following the landslide victories of Ronald Reagan involved attracting the support of voters in the political middle, who would vote Republican unless the Democrats became more centrist. He gave the Democratic response to President Reagan's 1985 State of the Union Address and served as Chair of the National Governors Association from 1986 to 1987, bringing him to an audience beyond Arkansas. Clinton made economic growth, job creation and educational improvement high priorities. For senior citizens, he removed the sales tax from medications and increased the home property-tax exemption.

          In the early 1980s, Clinton made reform of the Arkansas education system a top priority. The Arkansas Education Standards Committee, chaired by Clinton's wife, attorney and Legal Services Corporation chair Hillary Rodham Clinton, succeeded in reforming the education system, transforming it from the worst in the nation into one of the best. Many have considered this the greatest achievement of the Clinton governorship. Clinton and the committee were responsible for state educational improvement programs, notably more spending for schools, rising opportunities for gifted children, an increase in vocational education, raising of teachers' salaries, inclusion of a wider variety of courses, and compulsory teacher testing for aspiring educators. He defeated four Republican candidates for governor: Lowe (1978), White (1982 and 1986), and businessmen Woody Freeman of Jonesboro, (1984) and Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock (1990).

          The Clintons' personal and business affairs during the 1980s included transactions that became the basis of the Whitewater controversy investigation that later dogged his presidential administration. After extensive investigation over several years, no indictments were made against the Clintons related to the years in Arkansas.

          According to some sources, Clinton was in his early years a death penalty opponent who switched positions. During Clinton's term, Arkansas performed its first executions since 1964 (the death penalty had been re-enacted on March 23, 1973). As Governor, he oversaw four executions: one by electric chair and three by lethal injection. Later, as president, Clinton was the first President to pardon a death-row inmate since the federal death penalty was reintroduced in 1988.

          Democratic presidential primaries of 1988




          Governor and Mrs. Clinton attend the Dinner Honoring the Nation's Governors in the White House with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan, 1987.
          In 1987, there was media speculation Clinton would enter the race after then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo declined to run and Democratic front-runner Gary Hart withdrew owing to revelations of marital infidelity. Clinton decided to remain as Arkansas governor (following consideration for the potential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton for governor, initially favored – but ultimately vetoed – by the First Lady). For the nomination, Clinton endorsed Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. He gave the nationally televised opening night address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, but his speech, which was 33 minutes long and twice as long as it was expected to be, was criticized for being too long and poorly delivered. Presenting himself as a moderate and a member of the New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, he headed the moderate Democratic Leadership Council in 1990 and 1991.

          Presidential campaign 1992

          Further information: Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1992, United States presidential election, 1992 and Bill Clinton presidential campaign, 1992
          In the first primary contest, the Iowa caucus, Clinton finished a distant third to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. During the campaign for the New Hampshire primary, reports of an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers surfaced. As Clinton fell far behind former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas in the New Hampshire polls, following Super Bowl XXVI, Clinton and his wife Hillary went on 60 Minutes to rebuff the charges. Their television appearance was a calculated risk, but Clinton regained several delegates. He finished second to Tsongas in the New Hampshire primary, but after trailing badly in the polls and coming within single digits of winning, the media viewed it as a victory. News outlets labeled him "The Comeback Kid" for earning a firm second-place finish.

          Winning the big prizes of Florida and Texas and many of the Southern primaries on Super Tuesday gave Clinton a sizable delegate lead. However, former California Governor Jerry Brown was scoring victories and Clinton had yet to win a significant contest outside his native South. With no major Southern state remaining, Clinton targeted New York, which had many delegates. He scored a resounding victory in New York City, shedding his image as a regional candidate. Having been transformed into the consensus candidate, he secured the Democratic Party nomination, finishing with a victory in Jerry Brown's home state of California.



          Clinton family in White House
          During the campaign, questions of conflict of interest regarding state business and the politically powerful Rose Law Firm, at which Hillary Rodham Clinton was a partner, arose. Clinton argued the questions were moot because all transactions with the state had been deducted before determining Hillary's firm pay. Further concern arose when Bill Clinton announced that, with Hillary, voters would be getting two presidents "for the price of one".

          While campaigning for U.S. President, the then Governor Clinton returned to Arkansas to see that Ricky Ray Rector would be executed. After killing a police officer and a civilian, Rector shot himself in the head, leading to what his lawyers said was a state where he could still talk but did not understand the idea of death. According to Arkansas state and Federal law, a seriously mentally impaired inmate cannot be executed. The courts disagreed with the allegation of grave mental impairment and allowed the execution. Clinton's return to Arkansas for the execution was framed in a The New York Times article as a possible political move to counter "soft on crime" accusations.

          Because Bush's approval ratings were around 80 percent during the Gulf War, he was described as unbeatable. However, when Bush compromised with Democrats to try to lower Federal deficits, he reneged on his promise not to raise taxes, hurting his approval rating. Clinton repeatedly condemned Bush for making a promise he failed to keep. By election time, the economy was souring and Bush saw his approval rating plummet to just slightly over 40 percent. Finally, conservatives were previously united by anti-communism, but with the end of the Cold War, the party lacked a uniting issue. When Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson addressed Christian themes at the Republican National Convention – with Bush criticizing Democrats for omitting God from their platform – many moderates were alienated. Clinton then pointed to his moderate, "New Democrat" record as governor of Arkansas, though some on the more liberal side of the party remained suspicious. Many Democrats who had supported Ronald Reagan and Bush in previous elections switched their support to Clinton. Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore, toured the country during the final weeks of the campaign, shoring up support and pledging a "new beginning".

          Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.0 percent of the vote) against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush (37.4 percent of the vote) and billionaire populist Ross Perot, who ran as an independent (18.9 percent of the vote) on a platform focusing on domestic issues; a significant part of Clinton's success was Bush's steep decline in public approval. Clinton's election ended twelve years of Republican rule of the White House and twenty of the previous twenty-four years. The election gave Democrats full control of the United States Congress, the first time one party controlled both the executive and legislative branches since Democrats held the 95th United States Congress during the Jimmy Carter presidency in the late 1970s.

          Presidency, 1993–2001

          Main article: Presidency of Bill Clinton



          Countries visited by President Clinton during his terms in office
          During his presidency, Clinton advocated for a wide variety of legislation and programs, much of which was enacted into law or was implemented by the executive branch. Some of his policies, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance, while on other issues his stance was left-of-center. On budgetary matters his policy of fiscal conservatism helped to reduce deficits. Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. The Congressional Budget Office reported budget surpluses of $69 billion in 1998, $126 billion in 1999, and $236 billion in 2000, during the last three years of Clinton's presidency. At the end of his presidency, Clinton moved to New York and helped his wife win election to the U.S. Senate there.

          First term, 1993–1997




          Clinton takes the oath of office from Chief Justice William Rehnquist during his 1993 presidential inauguration on January 20, 1993.
          First inauguration of Bill Clinton (January 20, 1993)
          File:First Inaugural (January 20, 1993) Bill Clinton.ogv 
          Video of the First inauguration of Bill Clinton.
          First inauguration of Bill Clinton (January 20, 1993)
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          Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States on January 20, 1993. Shortly after taking office, Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 on February 5, which required large employers to allow employees to take unpaid leave for pregnancy or a serious medical condition. This action had bipartisan support, and proved quite popular with the public.

          On February 15, 1993, Clinton made his first address to the nation, announcing his plan to raise taxes to cap the budget deficit. Two days later, in a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress, Clinton unveiled his economic plan. The plan focused on reducing the deficit rather than on cutting taxes for the middle class, which had been high on his campaign agenda. Clinton's advisers pressured him to raise taxes on the theory that a smaller federal budget deficit would reduce bond interest rates.

          On May 19, 1993, Clinton fired seven employees of the White House Travel Office, causing the White House travel office controversy even though the Travel Office staff served at the pleasure of the President, who could dismiss them without cause. The White House responded to the controversy by claiming the firings were done because of financial improprieties that had been revealed by a brief FBI investigation. Critics contended the firings had been done to allow friends of the Clintons to take over the travel business and that the involvement of the FBI was unwarranted.


          "Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
          Inaugural address, January 20, 1993.
          Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 in August of that year, which passed Congress without a Republican vote. It cut taxes for fifteen million low-income families, made tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses, and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers. Additionally, through the implementation of spending restraints, it mandated the budget be balanced over a number of years.



          Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat during the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993.
          Clinton made a major speech to Congress regarding a health care reform plan on September 22, 1993, aimed at achieving universal coverage through a national health care plan. This was one of the most prominent items on Clinton's legislative agenda, and resulted from a task force headed by Hillary Clinton. Though at first well received in political circles, it was eventually doomed by well-organized opposition from conservatives, the American Medical Association, and the health insurance industry. However, John F. Harris, a biographer of Clinton's, states the program failed because of a lack of coordination within the White House. Despite the Democratic majority in Congress, the effort to create a national health care system ultimately died when compromise legislation by George J. Mitchell failed to gain a majority of support in August 1994. It was the first major legislative defeat of Clinton's administration.

          In November 1993, David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against Bill Clinton in the Whitewater controversy, alleged that Clinton, while governor of Arkansas, pressured him to provide an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the partner of the Clintons in the Whitewater land deal. A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation did result in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project, but the Clintons themselves were never charged, and Clinton maintains innocence in the affair.

          Clinton signed the Brady Bill into law on November 30, 1993, which imposed a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases. He also expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, a subsidy for low-income workers.

          In December of that year, allegations by Arkansas state troopers Larry Patterson and Roger Perry were first reported by David Brock in the American Spectator. Later known as Troopergate, the allegations by these men were that they arranged sexual liaisons for Bill Clinton back when he was governor of Arkansas. The story mentioned a woman named Paula, a reference to Paula Jones. Brock later apologized to Clinton, saying the article was politically motivated "bad journalism" and that "the troopers were greedy and had slimy motives."
          Remarks on the Signing of NAFTA (December 8, 1993)
          File:Remarks on the Signing of NAFTA (December 8, 1993) Bill Clinton.ogv 
          Clinton's December 8, 1993 remarks on the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement
          Remarks on the Signing of NAFTA (December 8, 1993)
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          That month, Clinton implemented a Department of Defense directive known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", which allowed gay men and women to serve in the armed services provided they kept their sexuality a secret, and forbade the military from inquiring about an individual's sexual orientation. The policy was developed as a compromise after Clinton's proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the military met staunch opposition from prominent Congressional Republicans and Democrats, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Sam Nunn (D-GA). According to David Mixner, Clinton's support for the compromise led to a heated dispute with Vice President Al Gore, who felt that "the President should lift the ban ... even though [his executive order] was sure to be overriden by the Congress". Some gay-rights advocates criticized Clinton for not going far enough and accused him of making his campaign promise to get votes and contributions. Their position was that Clinton should have integrated the military by executive order, noting that President Harry Truman used executive order to racially desegregate the armed forces. Clinton's defenders argue that an executive order might have prompted the Senate to write the exclusion of gays into law, potentially making it harder to integrate the military in the future. Later in his presidency, in 1999, Clinton criticized the way the policy was implemented, saying he did not think any serious person could say it was not "out of whack". The policy remained controversial, and was finally repealed in 2011, removing open sexual preference as a reason for dismissal from the armed forces.

          On January 1, 1994, Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law. Throughout his first year in office, Clinton consistently supported ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate. Clinton and most of his allies in the Democratic Leadership Committee strongly supported free trade measures; there remained, however, strong disagreement within the party. Opposition came chiefly from anti-trade Republicans, protectionist Democrats and supporters of Ross Perot. The bill passed the house with 234 votes against 200 opposed (132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voting in favor; 156 Democrats, 43 Republicans, and 1 independent against). The treaty was then ratified by the Senate and signed into law by the President.

          Clinton's 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill made many changes to U.S. law, including the expansion of the death penalty to include crimes not resulting in death, such as running a large-scale drug enterprise. During Clinton's re-election campaign he said, "My 1994 crime bill expanded the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons."


          "When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web ... Now even my cat has its own page."
          Bill Clinton's announcement of Next Generation Internet initiative, 1996.
          The Clinton administration also launched the first official White House website, whitehouse.gov, on October 21, 1994. It was followed by three more versions, resulting in the final edition launched in 2000. The White House website was part of a wider movement of the Clinton administration toward web-based communication. According to Robert Longley, "Clinton and Gore were responsible for pressing almost all federal agencies, the U.S. court system and the U.S. military onto the Internet, thus opening up America's government to more of America's citizens than ever before. On July 17, 1996, Clinton issued Executive Order 13011 – Federal Information Technology, ordering the heads of all federal agencies to utilize information technology fully to make the information of the agency easily accessible to the public."

          After two years of Democratic Party control, the Democrats lost control of Congress in the mid-term elections in 1994, for the first time in forty years.



          Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in October 1995
          Law professor Ken Gormley's book The Death of American Virtue reveals that Clinton escaped a 1996 assassination attempt in the Philippines by terrorists working for Osama bin Laden. During his visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Manila in 1996, he was saved shortly before his car was due to drive over a bridge where a bomb had been planted. Gormley said he was told the details of the bomb plot by Lewis Merletti, the Director of the United States Secret Service. Clinton was scheduled to visit a local politician in central Manila, when secret service officers intercepted a message suggesting that an attack was imminent. A transmission used the words "bridge" and "wedding", supposedly a terrorist's code words for assassination. The motorcade was re-routed and the US agents later discovered a bomb planted under the bridge. The report said the subsequent US investigation into the plot "revealed that it was masterminded by a Saudi terrorist living in Afghanistan named Osama bin Laden". Gormley said, "It remained top secret except to select members of the US intelligence community. At the time, there were media reports about the discovery of two bombs, one at Manila airport and another at the venue for the leaders' meeting".

          The White House FBI files controversy of June 1996 arose concerning improper access by the White House to FBI security-clearance documents. Craig Livingstone, head of the White House Office of Personnel Security, improperly requested, and received from the FBI, background report files without asking permission of the subject individuals; many of these were employees of former Republican administrations. In March 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray determined that there was no credible evidence of any crime. Ray's report further stated, "there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official was involved" in seeking the files.

          On September 21, 1996, Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as the legal union of one man and one woman, allowing individual states to refuse to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Paul Yandura, speaking for the White House gay and lesbian liaison office, said that Clinton's signing of DOMA "was a political decision that they made at the time of a re-election." In defense of his actions, Clinton has said that DOMA was an attempt to "head off an attempt to send a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the states", a possibility he described as highly likely in the context of a "very reactionary Congress." Administration spokesman Richard Socarides said, "... the alternatives we knew were going to be far worse, and it was time to move on and get the president re-elected." Others were more critical. The veteran gay rights and gay marriage activist Evan Wolfson has called these claims "historic revisionism". In a July 2, 2011 editorial The New York Times opined, "The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted in 1996 as an election-year wedge issue, signed by President Bill Clinton in one of his worst policy moments."

          Despite DOMA, Clinton, who was the first President to select openly gay persons for Administration positions, is generally credited as the first President to publicly champion gay rights. During his Presidency, Clinton controversially issued two substantial executive orders on behalf of gay rights, the first lifting the ban on security clearances for LGBT federal employees and the second outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce. Under President Clinton's leadership, federal funding for HIV/AIDS research, prevention and treatment more than doubled. And Clinton also pushed for passing hate crimes laws for gays and for the private sector Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which, buoyed by his lobbying, failed to pass the Senate by a single vote in 1996. Advocacy for these issues, paired with the politically unpopular nature of the gay rights movement at the time, led to enthusiastic support for Clinton's election and reelection by the Human Rights Campaign. Clinton came out for gay marriage in July 2009 and urged the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA in 2013. He was later honored by GLAAD for his prior pro-gay stances and his reversal on DOMA.

          As part of a 1996 initiative to curb illegal immigration, Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) on September 30, 1996. Appointed by Clinton, the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform recommended reducing legal immigration from about 800,000 people a year to about 550,000.

          The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy was an alleged effort by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to influence the domestic policies of the United States, before and during the Clinton administration, and involved the fundraising practices of the administration itself. The Chinese government denied all accusations.

          Second term, 1997–2001




          President Bill Clinton (center), first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (right) and their daughter Chelsea (left) wave to watchers at a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, January 20, 1997.
          In the 1996 presidential election, Clinton was re-elected, receiving 49.2 percent of the popular vote over Republican Bob Dole (40.7 percent of the popular vote) and Reform candidate Ross Perot (8.4 percent of the popular vote), becoming the first Democratic incumbent since Lyndon Johnson to be elected to a second term and the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected President more than once. The Republicans lost a few seats in the House and gained a few in the Senate, but retained control of both houses of the 105th United States Congress. Clinton received 379, or over 70 percent of the Electoral College votes, with Dole receiving 159 electoral votes.



          Al Gore and Newt Gingrich applaud as US president Clinton waves during the State of the Union address in 1997.
          In the January 1997 State of the Union address, Clinton proposed a new initiative to provide coverage to up to five million children. Senators Ted Kennedy – a Democrat – and Orrin Hatch – a Republican – teamed up with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her staff in 1997, and succeeded in passing legislation forming the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the largest (successful) health care reform in the years of the Clinton Presidency. That year, Hillary Clinton shepherded through Congress the Adoption and Safe Families Act and two years later she succeeded in helping pass the Foster Care Independence Act. He negotiated the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 by the Republican Congress. In October 1997, he announced he was getting hearing aids, due to hearing loss attributed to his age, and his time spent as a musician in his youth.

          Impeachment

          In a lame-duck session of Congress after the 1998 elections, the House voted to impeach Clinton, based on alleged acts of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Lewinsky scandal. This made Clinton only the second U.S. president to be impeached (the first being Andrew Johnson). Impeachment proceedings were based on allegations that Clinton had illegally lied about and covered up his relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. After the Starr Report was submitted to the House providing what it termed "substantial and credible information that President Clinton Committed Acts that May Constitute Grounds for an Impeachment", the House began impeachment hearings against Clinton before the mid-term elections. To hold impeachment proceedings, the Republican leadership called a lame-duck session in December 1998.



          The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presiding
          While the House Judiciary Committee hearings ended in a straight party-line vote, there was lively debate on the House floor. The two charges passed in the House (largely with Republican support, but with a handful of Democratic votes as well) were for perjury and obstruction of justice. The perjury charge arose from Clinton's testimony before a grand jury that had been convened to investigate perjury he may have committed in his sworn deposition during Paula Jones's sexual harassment lawsuit. The obstruction charge was based on his actions to conceal his relationship with Lewinsky before and after that deposition.

          The Senate later voted to acquit Clinton on both charges. The Senate refused to meet to hold an impeachment trial before the end of the old term, so the trial was held over until the next Congress. Clinton was represented by Washington law firm Williams & Connolly. The Senate finished a twenty-one-day trial on February 12, 1999, with the vote of 55 Not Guilty/45 Guilty on the perjury charge and 50 Not Guilty/50 Guilty on the obstruction of justice charge. Both votes fell short of the Constitutional two-thirds majority requirement to convict and remove an officeholder. The final vote was generally along party lines, with no Democrats voting guilty, and only a handful of Republicans voting not guilty.

          Clinton controversially issued 141 pardons and 36 commutations on his last day in office on January 20, 2001. Most of the controversy surrounded Marc Rich and allegations that Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham, accepted payments in return for influencing the president's decision-making regarding the pardons. Some of Clinton's pardons remain a point of controversy.

          Military and foreign events

          Further information: Foreign policy of the Bill Clinton administration



          President Clinton speaks with Col. Paul Fletcher, USAF, before boarding Air Force One, November 4, 1999.
          Many military events occurred during Clinton's presidency. The Battle of Mogadishu occurred in Somalia in 1993. During the operation, two U.S. helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenade attacks to their tail rotors, trapping soldiers behind enemy lines. This resulted in an urban battle that killed 18 American soldiers, wounded 73 others, and one was taken prisoner. There were many more Somali casualties. Some of the American bodies were dragged through the streets – a spectacle broadcast on television news programs. In response, U.S. forces were withdrawn from Somalia and later conflicts were approached with fewer soldiers on the ground. In 1995, U.S. and NATO aircraft attacked Bosnian Serb targets to halt attacks on U.N. safe zones and to pressure them into a peace accord. Clinton deployed U.S. peacekeepers to Bosnia in late 1995, to uphold the subsequent Dayton Agreement.



          General John P. Jumper, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, escorts President William Jefferson Clinton upon his arrival to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 5, 1999. The president visited several European air bases to thank the troops (not shown) for their support of NATO Operations Allied Force and Shining Hope, 1999.
          Capturing Osama bin Laden had been an objective of the United States government from the presidency of Bill Clinton until bin Laden's death in 2011. It was asserted by Mansoor Ijaz that in 1996 while the Clinton Administration had begun pursuit of the policy, the Sudanese government allegedly offered to arrest and extradite Bin Laden as well as to provide the United States detailed intelligence information about growing militant organizations in the region, including Hezbollah and Hamas, and that U.S. authorities allegedly rejected each offer, despite knowing of bin Laden's involvement in bombings on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. However, the 9/11 Commission found that although "former Sudanese officials claim that Sudan offered to expel Bin Laden to the United States", "we have not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim." In 1998, two years after the warning, the Clinton administration ordered several military missions to capture or kill bin Laden that failed.

          In response to the 1998 Al-Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed a dozen Americans and hundreds of Africans, Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. First was a Sudanese Pharmaceutical company suspected of assisting Osama Bin Laden in making chemical weapons. The second was Bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Clinton was subsequently criticized when it turned out that a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan (originally alleged to be a chemical warfare plant) had been destroyed.



          President Clinton greets Air Force personnel at Spangdahlem Air Base, May 5, 1999.
          To stop the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Albanians by anti-guerilla military units in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo, Clinton authorized the use of U.S. Armed Forces in a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, named Operation Allied Force. General Wesley Clark was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and oversaw the mission. With United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, the bombing campaign ended on June 10, 1999. The resolution placed Kosovo under UN administration and authorized a peacekeeping force to be deployed to the region. NATO announced that its forces had suffered zero combat deaths, and two deaths from an Apache helicopter crash. Opinions in the popular press criticized pre-war genocide statements by the Clinton administration as greatly exaggerated. A U.N. Court ruled genocide did not take place, but recognized, "a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments". The term "ethnic cleansing" was used as an alternative to "genocide" to denote not just ethnically motivated murder but also displacement, though critics charge there is no difference. Slobodan Milošević, the President of Yugoslavia at the time, was eventually charged with the "murders of about 600 individually identified ethnic Albanians" and "crimes against humanity."

          In Clinton's 1998 State of the Union Address, he warned Congress of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's possible pursuit of nuclear weapons:


          Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation's wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. The United Nations weapons inspectors have done a truly remarkable job, finding and destroying more of Iraq's arsenal than was destroyed during the entire gulf war. Now, Saddam Hussein wants to stop them from completing their mission. I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, "You cannot defy the will of the world", and when I say to him, "You have used weapons of mass destruction before; we are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.

          Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton )
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