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Bill Clinton

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Bill Clinton

William Jefferson Clinton succeeded where no other Democrat since Franklin had. He was re-elected to a second term as President. Clinton also proved most of his critics wrong, surviving the personal scandals that came about. During his presidency, Clinton broke promises and failed in certain areas, but he still had support of the American people. Even after his affair with Monica Lewinsky, the people still wanted him in office. They liked what he was doing for the country and supported him no matter what. Bill Clinton was an important president in American history, even through his personal scandals and broken promises.

William Jefferson Clinton, now known as Bill Clinton, was born on August 19, 1946. He spent the first six years of his life in Hope, Arkansas. William Jefferson Blythe, Clinton's father, died in an auto accident three months before his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, gave birth to him. Clinton was raised in his grandmother, Edith Cassidy's home. His mother was often away from home taking nursing classes in New Orleans. It was at this time when Clinton's grandmother taught him to read at a very early age (American President 1).

In 1950, Bill's mother married Roger Clinton. Roger was a car dealer and an abusive alcoholic. Bill Clinton attended public schools in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The whole family then moved to Hope, Arkansas, about an hour away from Hot Springs. When Bill was 15, his mother divorced Roger Clinton, only to remarry him quickly after. As a teenage boy, Clinton was obsessed with politics. He won student elections in high school, and later at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Clinton graduated from Yale Law School and moved back to his home state of Arkansas. Soon after moving back to Arkansas, he started teaching law at the University of Arkansas (Dumas 1).

Clinton met his future wife, Hillary Rodham, when he moved back to Arkansas. The two of them got married in 1975. Not long after he moved back to Arkansas, Clinton threw himself into politics by running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives against Republican John Paul Hammerschmidt. Even though Clinton lost this 1974 race, it was Hammerschmidt's closest election in the twenty-six years he had been in Congress (Dumas 2). This election showed that Clinton was a rising political star.

Two years after his defeat, Clinton was elected as state attorney general of Arkansas. Then, in 1978, at the age of thirty-two, Clinton ran for governor. It was an easy victory for Clinton, and it made him one of the nation's youngest governors ever. Even though this was a big step for Clinton, his young age and inexperience quickly left the Arkansas population unimpressed. Governor Clinton had several problems during his term and did several things that the people of Arkansas didn't agree with. Consequently, the voters elected Frank White instead of him in the next election. White was a little known, new Republican businessman who switched parties just to run against Clinton. Now Clinton was the youngest former governor in American history (Dumas 3).

Shocked by his defeat, Clinton went to work for a Little Rock law firm. While at the law firm, he spent a great deal of his time campaigning for reelection. In the 1982 race, Clinton admitted his mistakes and used his charm to convince the voters to give him another chance. Apparently he had a lot of charm, because he was elected governor in 1982 and again in 1984. Voters then supported him for two four-year terms in 1986 and 1990 (American President 3).

As governor, Clinton strongly advocated educational reform. His education reforms positively impacted Arkansas schools, decreasing the dropout rate and increasing college-entrance exam test scores. Clinton also concentrated on economic development by promoting new businesses and job growth. He proposed a plan to change banking laws, provide money to start new technology-orientated businesses, arrange loans for people to start new businesses, and reduce the taxes of large Arkansas companies that expanded their production and created new jobs. The plan was approved by the legislature. In the 1980's, the rate at which new jobs were created in Arkansas was among the highest in the nation. The jobs were there, but most of them didn't pay high wages and the average family income still remained low (American President 3).

During the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton promised to reform the health-care system, enact a tax cut for the middle class, reduce the federal budget deficit, and make major investments in the nation's highways, bridges, and hospitals to name a few (Dumas 4). The health-care reform was the most ambitious item on Clinton's campaign platform. He promised to fix the two major problems of American health care: rising costs and the widespread lack of coverage. A large number of Americans had neither private health insurance nor coverage under a government program. Others had coverage, but it would end if they quit or lost their jobs. So, in his campaign, Clinton promised to reduce their insecurity with the slogan "No American will go without health care" (Campbell 216).

In the 1992 presidential election, Clinton defeated President George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot and became the forty-second president of the United States. This election made Clinton the first president born after World War II, or in other words, he and his wife Hillary were the first baby boomer couple to occupy the White House. Hillary Clinton was the first professional career woman to become the first lady. Some enemies and traditionalists hold that against her, but without her strength and support Bill Clinton would not have fulfilled his ambition to become president. Hillary has repeatedly saved her husband's political life (Haynes 368).

In one of his first official actions as president, Clinton named First Lady Hillary Clinton to head the White House Task Force on National Health Care Reform, along with business consultant Ira Magaziner. Neither had experience in managing policy development in the federal government, and they also shared a refusal to compromise. Five months after their deadline, Clinton and Magaziner brought forth a 1,300 page bill that was sent to Congress as the proposed Health Security Act. It was very complex and promised splendid benefits, but Clinton



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