Bill Clinton: biography
Bill Clinton is the outstanding American politician and the 42nd President of the United States. Bill Clinton represented the Democrats and managed to win the presidential race twice; he performed his presidential duties from 1993 to 2001.
William Jefferson Blythe III who would later become Bill Clinton was born in August 1946 in one of Hope clinics in Arkansas. The boy’s father, the traveling salesman William Jefferson Blythe Jr., tragically died in an accident in May 1946.
The widow Virginia Dell Cassidy had to bring up the son alone. The young mother had to leave Bill with her parents and come back to Shreveport, Louisiana, where she had met her husband: Virginia continued to learn to be a nurse anesthesiologist.
Bill Clinton’s grandparents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy were small entrepreneurs and ran a small grocery store. People did not like Cassidy because she welcomed people of color in her store. It was probably the first lesson of tolerance and democracy for the small boy who chose the Democratic party when he grew up.
When Bill turned four, the mother married for the second time. The stepfather Roger Clinton was a car dealer. In 1953, the family moved to Hot Springs. Three years later, Bill’s younger brother Roger Clinton Jr. was born. When Bill was 15, he got the same second name.
Bill Clinton was an exemplary student at school. He not only succeeded in his studies but also ran the school jazz band and played the saxophone. Besides, Clinton was the activist and students’ speaker.
In summer 1963, Clinton became the leader of the youth delegation that met President Kennedy. This event made a considerable impact on the young man’s future: the President himself shook hands with a young man from an ordinary family. It was the turning point when Bill Clinton’s political career began: Clinton admitted later that he started thinking about politics for the first time in his life.
The ambitious young man was working hard to achieve his goal. Although his family belonged to the middle class, Bill could not count on his family’s assistance with the college: the stepfather had drinking issues. Clinton entered the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and did his best to get the increased scholarship. The young man’s achievements gave him the change to study at Oxford for two years (from 1968). Later, Clinton entered Yale University School of Law. As soon as he graduated, he came back to Arkansas. This is where his political career began.
Bill Clinton decided to build his career on the fundament of his biography: a straighforward and honest man from people who earned money for his own education and achieved heights.
After a short period of teaching at the University of Arkansas, the 28-year-old Clinton took the first political step: he tried to get the position in Congress as the Arkansas 3rd congressional district Democratic representative. The young, eloquent, and handsome politician (Clinton’s height is 188 cm.) managed to win voters’ support quickly.
Although the young man lost, his Republican opponent got just a few percentages more than Clinton. The political establishment of Arkansas paid attention to the new promising wunderkind figure.
In 1976, Bill Clinton won the Arkansas Attorney General elections. Two years later, the 32-year-old politician became the youngest Governor of Arkansas in the history of the USA.
By the moment Clinton became the President, Arkansas was the last but one state in the income statistics (Mississippi was the last one). After 11 years of Clinton’s governance, the state did not become the leader suddenly – the income increase rate was 4.1%. However, entrepreneurs noticed the climate “got warmer” which contributed to the business development, investment increase, and unemployment reduction.
The new governor also introduced educational programs: the politician managed to crush the existing resistance and had a particular reform program which made Arkansas the state where the educational financing per person is the highest even today.
In October 1991, Bill Clinton ran for the presidency. At that period, he gained the reputation of the brightest “new Democrat.” The young politician counted on the middle class that the Republicans had attracted in the 1980s. Clinton promised this influential social group the tax reduction and economic pragmatism.
Clinton’s pre-electoral rhetoric and promises found themselves in the fertile ground. During the cold war, Ronald Reagan and George Bush placed economy second after politics – for this reason, people’s actual earnings reduced, and the number of jobs decreased sharply.
Although Clinton’s opponent George Bush had the recent victory in the Persian Gulf and seemed to be invincible, the young Democrat managed to get ahead. The victory was not absolute: Clinton had 43% of votes which was only 5% more than Bush’s results. Considering that the non-party candidate Ross Perot received 20% of votes, it was clear that Clinton’s victory was a happy coincidence.
The new president’s inauguration ceremony took place in January 1993. Except for Jimmy Carter’s short presidency, the Democrats had been excommunicated from the state affairs for almost 25 years. Clinton drew the line in the neo-conservative epoch of Reagan and Bush.
People expected the 42nd president to renovate the country in a liberal way. In his speech, William Jefferson Clinton let the audience know that the new young politicians were coming; he emphasized they would replace the older generation and focus on economics.
Soon, the American people realized Bill Clinton’s lack of big-politics experience. At the first moments of his presidency, he was building his team long and chaotically so that the Republicans criticized his actions. For instance, Clinton suggested Zoë Baird as the candidate for the Prosecutor General position while she was involved in tax non-payment criminal proceedings. Besides, Clinton could not provide the effective interaction between the Republicans and the Congress.
Clinton’s support of openly gay people in the army failed. The president had to accept the compromise offered by the Ministry of Defense – it differed from Clinton’s suggestion significantly.
At this period, America initiated the peace-management operation in Somalia under the authority of the United Nations, but it was a fiasco.
In Clinton’s first term, the health-care reform is considered one of the ghastliest mistakes. As the candidate, Bill Clinton called it the priority and appointed his wife Hillary the Task Force on National Health Care Reform Chairperson.
The President wanted all American citizens to have medical insurance which implied that employers and medical companies would have to cover a significant part of costs. Clinton did not take into account both stakeholders’ resistance. As a result, the large-scale reforms were reduced to insignificant legislative amendments the Congress approved.
After the Democratic party lost the next congressional elections in 1994, many Clinton’s initiatives were even less likely to be launched.
Still, the 42nd President’s actions brought many positive changes in the domestic politics: the American economy improved, and the unemployment rates reduced.
In the international politics, Clinton managed to ease the tension between America and other countries that used to be the US open enemies. The American President delivered a speech in the Moscow State University and became the Honorary Professor of the country’s leading university.
At the same time, Bill Clinton’s success in the international scene is partially explained by his luck: the period of his presidency coincided the time when Boris Yeltsin became the leader of Russia and announced the politics of disarmament and friendship with the United States.
According to Strobe Talbott, the Deputy Secretary of State, Boris Yeltsin agreed with all US demands during negotiations; Talbott explained it with the Russian leader’s tendency to drink and believed that Yeltsin paid more attention to what was there on the table than how negotiations were going on.
In 1996, the new presidential elections took place. Everything ran smoothly as Clinton’s opponent Robert Dole was too ordinary; the result was quite good, although not perfect, 49% against 41%.
Bill Clinton’s second term was more successful due to the politician’s experience. The US economy continued to improve, and the country’s external debt reduced. The United States became the leader in the IT sphere (before that, Japan was predominating). With the collapse of the USSR, the country got rid of the tension in that region which gave it the chance to concentrate on its economy.
After the Yugoslav Wars, the fourth stage of the enlargement of NATO occurred.
As Clinton finished the second presidential term, he stepped back and started supporting his wife who was also the candidate for the presidency. In 2008, Hilary gave in to Barack Obama; both Hillary and Bill supported him.
During the 2012 presidential elections, the Clintons were actively supporting Barack Obama again.
In January 2012, as per the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon’s request, Bill Clinton began to coordinate the international help to Haiti that had suffered from the earthquake.
The election took place on November 8, 2016. Hilary Clinton was defeated; the difference was approximately a hundred votes. The situation was somewhat paradoxical: if the votes had been counted directly, Hilary Clinton would have won the victory since she had 65.84 million votes while Trump had only 62.98 million – in other words, the difference was almost 3 million votes.
Many experts called the elections one of the most complicated and ambiguous events: the American society did not actively support either of the candidates, and both of them had been involved in economic, political, or ethnic scandals. People voted not for a certain candidate, but against one of them.
Bill Clinton met his future wife Hillary when he studied at Yale University. The couple married in fall 1975. For some time, they both taught at the Fayetteville State University.
In February 1980, Hillary gave birth to their only child Chelsea Clinton. Today, the Clintons have two grandchildren: the girl Charlotte was born in 2014, and the boy Aidan was born in summer 2016.
The politician is sometimes called old-fashioned. In 2004, there was the information that Clinton had sent only two e-mails independently, one of them was just a test message with a single word “text.” At the same time, there are more than 40 million e-letters in the archive – the president’s staff members wrote them.
In February, the media reported Clinton’s disease; the politician was hospitalized in New York after heartache complaints. 63-year-old Clinton underwent the stenting. After the operation, the politician became a vegan; he promotes it on all levels. In one of his interviews, he said that the vegan diet saved his life.
Bill Clinton’s life has been full of many scandals, real and made-up by his enemies. During the first pre-electoral campaign, many things were dragged out of Hilary and Bill’s past. For instance, the Democratic candidate was accused of the weird behavior due to which he did not take part in the Vietnam war.
The press learned that Bill used to smoke weed when he was a student; Clinton joked and said he did not inhale it. The candidate’s personal life also raised many questions: journalists found the charges of sexual harassment. There were accusations of property scams where Hilary Clinton was allegedly engaged. Although the majority of these claims were not proved, they took several percentages of the Democrat’s victory.
In 1998, the new scandal could have cost Bill Clinton his presidency: the information about the president’s intimate relationship with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky leaked to the media. The young woman shared the details of her affair with the country’s leader and informed what was going on in the famous Oval Office.
This scandal became the top subject of discussions in America as well as the whole world. Clinton’s position was compromised even more after his false testimony. It was a miracle that the president escaped the impeachment. Hillary Clinton contributed to it: she managed to pull herself together and control her emotions. She demonstrated perfect self-restraint when she forgave her husband. Eventually, the scandal died down, but the reputation of the Democrats suffered considerably.
Apart from the story with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton is said to have had an affair with a black prostitute from Arkansas: this news appeared in 2016 when the Clinton-Trump pre-electoral race was taking place. A black young man Danney Lee Williams called himself Bill Clinton’s son.
The similarity between the young man and Clinton might be just a coincidence, and his kinship to the former President might be a dirty pre-electoral trick.
In recent years, the former US President continues to maintain active social work. Bill Clinton is the member of many political and charity organizations.
The media often mention Bill Clinton in relation to old scandals or sudden information disclosure, not his charity work.
In 2017, many charges were pressed on Bill Clinton: he was accused of rape and even murder while his wife was accused of covering up these crimes. However, the scandal did not spread: neither the criminal proceedings against the Clintons nor charges of slander followed.
In 2018, the former President confessed he had helped Shimon Peres in his struggle against Netanyahu – in other words, he interfered with the elections in Israel in 1996.
- 1998 - Order of Good Hope, 1st class (South African Republic)
- 1998 - Order of the White Lion, 1st class, with a chain (Czech Republic)
- 1999 - Order of the State of Republic of Turkey
- 1999 - Ellis Island Medal of Honor
- 2001 - Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- 2005 - Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album “My Life”
- 2006 - Philadelphia Liberty Medal (together with George Bush)
- 2006 - Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (Papua New Guinea)
- 2006 - Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonia)
- 2008 – “TED Prize” for creating the chain of clinics in Rwanda
- 2010 – “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” announced Clinton the person of the year
- 2011 - National Order of Honour and Merit Grand Cross in gold (Haiti)
- 2013 - Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction (Israel)
- 2013 - St. George's Order of Victory (Georgia)
- 2013 - Presidential Medal of Freedom (US)