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Bill Clinton

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Clinton was the first president to be a part of the baby boomer generation, and was the third youngest president elected in U.S. history. He was the first Democratic president to serve two full terms since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Clinton also was the second president to be impeached over the issues of obstruction of justice and perjury. If there were major criticisms, they would have to fall into the categories of foreign policy and his personal actions in the White House. He can, however, be credited with initiating or signing into law significant domestic legislation, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Brady Bill, the Minimum Wage Increase Act, and the Taxpayer Relief Act.

When Clinton won the nomination for president at the 1992 Democratic Convention, he was given little chance of unseating George H.W. Bush. President Bush was expected to ride the wave of Desert Storm in early 1991. Clinton countered with a platform of domestic issues, drawing from the economic downturn in the U.S. He used the phrase "It's the economy, stupid!" early and often during his campaign. Clinton's opponents, meanwhile, attacked him for his past use of marijuana, to which he replied, "I smoked but didn't inhale." Other issues Clinton had to deal with included his avoidance of military service, rumors of womanizing, and allegedly shady business deals. Those issues weren't enough to sway many voters, but did inflame the conservatives in Congress, and set the tone for future battles over legislation. Clinton became the first president since John F. Kennedy to win the election with just a citizen majority of the vote.

Clinton began his presidency by signing an executive order to place stiff restrictions on senior political personnel who would try to control their co-workers after they retire. His first piece of legislation fulfilled a campaign promise -- the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The new law required large corporations to grant unpaid leave for those employees that were pregnant or suffering from a serious medical condition. Another campaign promise, dealing with the sensitive issue of openly gay military personnel, was not handled well. Angering conservatives and liberals alike, some thought the measure went too far, others felt it did not go far enough. A compromise led to the controversial "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. Clinton's most notable campaign promise, to reform health care (led by Hillary Clinton), was shot down in a ball of flames by conservatives and the health insurance industry.

The 1994 elections proved to be disappointing for the Democrats; they lost control over both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The Republican majority began to flex their muscle by bringing to the table their "Contract with America," which would "clean up" Congress and the way their predecessors conducted business. A squabble with the Republicans over the budget resulted in a brief shutdown of the government. But, Clinton was re-elected in 1996, again without a majority of the vote. Clinton's approval ratings had steadily



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