William J. Clinton
Born: August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas
Married to Hillary Rodham Clinton
During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton,
the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time
in its history. He was the first Democratic president since Franklin
D. Roosevelt to win a second term. He could point to the lowest unemployment
rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home
ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places,
and reduced welfare rolls. He proposed the first balanced budget in decades
and achieved a budget surplus. As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium
in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial
After the failure in his second year of a huge program of health care
reform, Clinton shifted emphasis, declaring "the era of big government
is over." He sought legislation to upgrade education, to protect
jobs of parents who must care for sick children, to restrict handgun
sales, and to strengthen environmental rules.
President Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV on August 19,
1946, in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his father died in a traffic
accident. When he was four years old, his mother wed Roger Clinton, of
Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school, he took the family name.
He excelled as a student and as a saxophone player and once considered
becoming a professional musician. As a delegate to Boys Nation while
in high school, he met President John Kennedy in the White House Rose
Garden. The encounter led him to enter a life of public service.
Clinton was graduated from Georgetown University and in 1968 won a Rhodes
Scholarship to Oxford University. He received a law degree from Yale
University in 1973, and entered politics in Arkansas.
He was defeated in his campaign for Congress in Arkansas's Third District
in 1974. The next year he married Hillary Rodham, a graduate of Wellesley
College and Yale Law School. In 1980, Chelsea, their only child, was
Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976, and won the governorship
in 1978. After losing a bid for a second term, he regained the office
four years later, and served until he defeated incumbent George Bush
and third party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race.
Clinton and his running mate, Tennessee's Senator Albert Gore Jr., then
44, represented a new generation in American political leadership. For
the first time in 12 years both the White House and Congress were held
by the same party. But that political edge was brief; the Republicans
won both houses of Congress in 1994.
In 1998, as a result of issues surrounding personal indiscretions with
a young woman White House intern, Clinton was the second U.S. president
to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was tried in the
Senate and found not guilty of the charges brought against him. He apologized
to the nation for his actions and continued to have unprecedented popular
approval ratings for his job as president.
In the world, he successfully dispatched peace keeping forces to war-torn
Bosnia and bombed Iraq when Saddam Hussein stopped United Nations inspections
for evidence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. He became
a global proponent for an expanded NATO, more open international trade,
and a worldwide campaign against drug trafficking. He drew huge crowds
when he traveled through South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, and China,
advocating U.S. style freedom.