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.
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Bill Clinton biography
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