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Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Born Aug. 19, 1946 in Hope, AR, William Jefferson Blythe III took his stepfather's last name, Clinton, and ascended from an impoverished childhood to become a Rhodes Scholar and graduate from Yale Law School, where he met his future wife, Hillary Rodham. Demonstrating enormous charisma and political ability, Clinton was only 32 when he became governor of Arkansas in 1978, and after losing the 1980 election, returned to that office in 1982, which he held for the following decade. Both Clinton and his wife were considered rising stars in the Democratic Party and he won the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination, making an astounding run from behind to beat incumbent president George H.W. Bush, in great part due to Clinton's youthful appeal and energy, exemplified by a saxophone-playing appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" (syndicated, 1989-1994). His two terms as president were marked by enormous national prosperity and he pushed through NAFA, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and widespread welfare reform, although he suffered major setbacks when his wife's attempts to overhaul health care crashed and burned. Most notably, Clinton was infamously impeached but later acquitted for his attempts to cover up his extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. This scandal only fed the flames begun with numerous sexual harassment allegations brought against Clinton, who impressively managed to outlast the controversies and even change public opinion of him and his "lothario" character.Known dismissively as "Bubba," "Slick Willie" for his silver-tongued slipperiness as well as "the first Black president" in a controversial statement by author Toni Morrison, Clinton proved a favorite for comedians like Phil Hartman and Darrell Hammond to parody on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) and countless comics and late-night shows who lampooned his cadence and accent, as well as his well-publicized love of junk food and delivering his talking points with what was soon dubbed "the Clinton thumb." Despite all the cracks taken at him, ¬Clinton was universally recognized for having a brilliant legal mind and he appointed both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although many questioned his personal integrity and character, Clinton was widely recognized as a masterful politician and effective president, and his legend only grew more glowing with the troubles that faced the United States as the world changed, with massive events such as the 9/11 attacks and the recession rendering the relative peace and prosperity of the Clinton years a much fonder memory for many. After leaving office, Clinton enjoyed massive popularity and became a powerful philanthropist and eloquent ally to his wife, who launched her own presidential campaign in 2008, as well as to the candidate who edged her out to win, Barack Obama. Many regarded his knock-it-out-of-the-park speech to the Democratic Convention in 2012 as one of the main reasons President Obama won his second term, with many expressing the wish he was the one on the ticket. Clinton gave an equally impassioned but far more personal speech -- memorably opening with the line "In the spring of 1971, I met a girl" -- when Hillary Clinton was nominated as the first woman to head a major-party ticket during an American election, making Bill Clinton potentially America's first First Gentleman. By Jonathan Riggs
WIKIPEDIA