Former President Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton walking along the National Mall on his
way to the dedication ceremonies for the National World War 2
Memorial, May 2004
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. Prior to his election as President, Clinton served a total of nearly 12 years as the 50th and 52nd Governor of Arkansas. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the junior U.S. Senator from New York. Clinton founded and currently heads the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote "the values of fairness and opportunity for all."
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. He was a darkhorse candidate but won the nomination and was elected President in 1992 with Al Gore as his running mate. Clinton was handily re-elected in 1996 making him the first Democrat to serve two full terms as President since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
His domestic priorities as President included efforts to create a universal health care system, improve education, increase local police forces, restrict handgun sales, balance the federal budget, strengthen environmental regulations, improve race relations, promote equal rights, and protect the jobs of workers during pregnancy or medical emergency. With approval from Congress, he raised income taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers in 1993. His most dramatic domestic move was the radical reform of the welfare system in 1996 in cooperation with Republicans who had taken control of Congress.
Internationally, his priorities included reducing trade barriers, supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement, preventing nuclear proliferation, mediating the Northern Ireland peace process and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and commanding military intervention to end the wars in Bosnia and the Kosovo. He engaged in air attacks on Iraq, most notably in Operation Desert Fox, and funded efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Clinton was the first baby boomer President and the first Democratic
President to be re-elected since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Clinton was
the third youngest President in history at 46, while Vice President Al
Gore was 44. Clinton was one of only two Presidents in American
history to be impeached. The vote to impeach was along party lines in
the Republican-dominated congress. He was acquitted by a vote of the
United States Senate on February 12, 1999. Clinton remained popular
with the public throughout his two terms as President, ending his
presidential career with a 65% approval rating, the highest
end-of-term approval rating of any President in the post-Eisenhower
Trivia about Bill Clinton:
Clinton is 6' 1½" (1.87m) tall.
Clinton is left-handed (other sinistral Presidents include James A. Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush).
Following the death of Pope John Paul II on 2005-04-02 Clinton stirred up a mini-controversy saying the late pontiff, "may have had a mixed legacy…there will be debates about him. But on balance, he was a man of God, he was a consistent person, he did what he thought was right." Clinton sat with both President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush as the first current or former American heads of state to attend a papal funeral.
On 2006-05-13, Clinton was the commencement speaker along with George H. W. Bush at Tulane University in New Orleans. They both received honorary Doctorates of Laws from Tulane University. Clinton spoke to the students, faculty and alumni of Tulane and of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina that Tulane students know firsthand.
Clinton is an amateur saxophonist (other recent musical presidents include pianists Harry Truman and Richard Nixon).
Clinton is allergic to dust, mold, pollen, and cat dander, mildly allergic to beef and dairy products.
Clinton was a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity and Kappa Kappa Psi, a band service fraternity.
Clinton was the only President to be married to a member of Congress: Hillary Rodham
Clinton's service as a Senator officially began 18 days before his second term ended.
Clinton has basic knowledge of German; he studied German in college as his language-of-choice.
Clinton owned two pets during his presidency: a male chocolate-colored Labrador Retriever named "Buddy" and a cat named "Socks". Socks arrived in 1993 and was the first cat to live in the White House since President Carter's daughter's cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang. Clinton acquired Buddy as a puppy in 1997 and named him after his late uncle. Buddy and Socks fought frequently at the White House and were kept in separate quarters. Since this would be no longer possible in the Clintons' smaller home in Chappaqua, New York, Socks was given away to Clinton's secretary when he left office. Buddy died after being run over by a car near the Clintons' Chappaqua house in 2002.
Centraal Beheer, a Dutch insurance company famous for its humorous commercials, once had a TV commercial involving Clinton and a voodoo doll. This commercial was taken down after a few weeks at the request of the White House.
Clinton reportedly owned a 1970 El Camino at one time. Speaking to a group of GM employees, Clinton joked, "It had astro-turf in the back. You don't want to know why."
In November of 1997 President Clinton made history by being the first sitting President to speak to a gay rights organization. He gave a speech at a formal dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign .
The Clinton thumb gesture was popularized by Clinton.
Clinton's campaign song during his first Presidential campaign was "Don't Stop" [Thinking About Tomorrow] by Fleetwood Mac. He even managed to persuade the then-defunct group to perform for his inaugural ball in 1993.
Clinton is, to date, the only sitting U.S. President to have shaken hands with Cuban President Fidel Castro. The two leaders found themselves standing next to each other at a U.N. photo op in September 2000. As the 150 leaders in attendance were exiting for lunch, a chance bottle neck at the door put the two leaders side by side and the handshake took place. They shook hands and exchanged what was described as small talk for a couple of minutes. Richard Nixon shook Castro's hand when he was Vice-President, and Jimmy Carter has done so during his post-presidential years.
The first presidential Webcast, held by President Bill Clinton on 1999-11-08 live from Georgetown University, is currently the only bona fide Internet-age broadcast in a Presidential library. The two hour internet broadcast entitled Townhall with President Clinton, hosted by Al From of the Democratic Leadership Council and directed by Marc Scarpa, was billed as an "Online Town Hall Meeting" ushering in 'The New Politics of the Information Age'".
Appeared in a commercial with preceding president George Herbert Walker Bush encouraging donations to the Red Cross and other charities after the 2004 Tsunami.
Appeared in a commercial for Nickelodeon's Let's Just Play Get Healthy Challenge.
During the 1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Clinton made a bet with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the playoff series between the Washington Capitals and the Ottawa Senators where the loser of the series had to wear the opposing team's jersey, The Capitals won the series four games to one and Chretien had to wear a Capitals jersey.
In 2003, he became the only politican to be the highlight of an E! True Hollywood Story.