Bill Clinton biography
Forty-second president of the United States, born William Jefferson Blythe, on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Blythe, died in an auto accident three months before he was born. He was adopted by his stepfather, Roger Clinton. As a youth, he thrilled to John F. Kennedy's promise, especially when he got the opportunity to shake his idol’s hand in the Rose Garden in 1963. Clinton attended Georgetown University and traveled to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving what would become a controversial draft deferment during the Vietnam War. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1973. Two years later, he married Hillary Rodham, also a graduate of Yale Law.
A committed Democrat, Clinton served as the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979; he won the governor's seat in 1978. Defeated for re-election in 1980, he went through a period of soul-searching before making a comeback in 1982 and becoming governor again. Clinton went on to reelection in 1984, 1986, and 1990, and was voted “most effective” by his fellow governors. Clinton overcame serious charges involving alleged extramarital affairs and questions about his avoiding the draft to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. He chose as his running mate Senator Albert Gore, Jr. Though Clinton was accused of “waffling” in his campaign speeches, he kept the pressure on incumbent George Bush by focusing on the dire economic plight of many Americans. He won the three-way presidential race—over Bush and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot—with 43% of the popular vote and 370 out of 525 electoral votes. Many saw his inauguration as the passing of the torch to a new generation, partially obscuring—but not for long—the fact that he faced an enormous national debt and a country fragmented by social strife. During Clinton’s first term, the health of the American economy improved and the U.S. became part of an international community newly bent on the peaceful resolution of long-standing conflicts from the Middle East to Northern Ireland. When the Republicans wrested control of Congress in 1994, Clinton shifted noticeably to the right in his politics, working with Republican leaders to achieve a balanced budget, while abandoning earlier pledges such as universal health care and gay and lesbian rights. In 1996, Clinton won re-election over Republican Senator Bob Dole.
In the second term of the Clinton-Gore administration, American prosperity continued, while international crises arose in the Middle East and Yugoslavia. Even bigger problems at home began in 1998. During the course of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr accused Clinton of lying to a federal grand jury about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Over the course of the next year, Americans were bombarded with Starr’s findings, complete with sordid details of the two-year affair, which Clinton vigorously denied—until he was faced with DNA evidence and was forced to admit his relationship with the then-21-year-old Lewinsky.
On December 19, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton became only the second President (after Andrew Johnson in 1868) to be impeached when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, voting virtually along party lines, charged him with perjury and obstruction of justice. In accordance with the majority of public opinion, the Senate acquitted Clinton on February 12, 1999, although he may face indictment upon leaving office. Many will argue that Clinton’s mistakes in his personal life have forever tarnished what would otherwise have been a relatively successful Presidency.
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, who began her undergraduate work at Stanford University in 1997. In the summer of 1999, the Clintons purchased a house in New York’s Westchester County. On November 7, 2000, just four months from the end of his own presidency, Bill Clinton saw his wife become the only first lady ever to be elected to public office when she won election to the United States Senate from the state of New York.
Clinton continued to weather a good deal of criticism in the year following his presidency, most notably controversy concerning a number of pardons the ex-president gave in the final days of his administration. In the summer of 2001, Clinton moved his headquarters into an office in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He also signed a reported $10 million contract with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., to write his memoirs, a deal believed to be the biggest ever for a non-fiction book.
In October 2001, Clinton was disbarred from practicing law before the United States Supreme Court. He had previously had his Arkansas law license suspended for five years as a result of a disbarment lawsuit brought by a committee of the Arkansas State Supreme Court. .