Bill Clinton, 42nd US President
William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
Prior to the Presidency he was the 40th Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and the state’s 42nd Governor from 1983 to 1992. Before that, he served as Arkansas Attorney General from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist “Third Way” political philosophy.
Clinton was born and raised in Arkansas and is an alumnus of Georgetown University, where he was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Phi Beta Kappa Society; he earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford.
Clinton is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served as United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, and was the Democratic nominee for President in 2016. Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham both earned degrees from Yale Law School, where they met and began dating. As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton overhauled the state’s education system and served as chairman of the National Governors Association.
- Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, defeating incumbent Republican opponent George H. W. Bush. At age 46, he became the third-youngest president (behind Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy) and the first from the Baby Boomer generation.
- Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history and signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- After failing to pass national health care reform, the Democratic House was ousted when the Republican Party won control of the Congress in 1994, for the first time in 40 years.
- Two years later, in 1996, Clinton became the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be elected to a second term. Clinton passed welfare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as financial deregulation measures, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000.
- In 1998, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, for perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice during a lawsuit against him, both related to a scandal involving White House (and later Department of Defense) employee Monica Lewinsky. Clinton was acquitted by the U.S. Senate in 1999 and served his complete term of office.
- The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus between the years 1998 and 2000, the last three years of Clinton’s presidency. In foreign policy, Clinton ordered U.S. military intervention in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, signed the Iraq Liberation Act in opposition to Saddam Hussein, and participated in the 2000 Camp David Summit to advance the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.
- Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. President since World War II. Since then, Clinton has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. He created the William J. Clinton Foundation to address international causes, such as the prevention of AIDS and global warming.
- In 2004, Clinton published his autobiography, My Life. He has remained active in politics by campaigning for Democratic candidates, including his wife’s campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016, and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
- In 2009, Clinton was named the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti, and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Clinton teamed with George W. Bush to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Since leaving office, Clinton has been rated highly in public opinion polls of U.S. Presidents.