Clinton, Bill

Clinton, Bill


42nd president of the USA from 1993, a Democrat. He served as governor of Arkansas 1979-81 and 1983-93, establishing a liberal and progressive reputation. As president, he sought to implement a New Democrat programme, combining social reform with economic conservatism as a means of bringing the country out of recession. He was initially successful in introducing legislation to reduce the federal deficit and cut crime, but the loss of both houses of Congress to the Republicans in the 1994 midterm elections presented a serious obstacle to further social reform.

Born in the railway town of Hope, Arkansas, Clinton graduated from Georgetown University 1968, won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University 1968-70, and graduated from Yale University Law School 1973. He was elected attorney general for Arkansas in 1975. With running mate Al Gore, he won the 1992 presidential campaign by focusing on domestic issues and the ailing economy. He became the first Democrat in the White House for 13 years.

During his first year in office Clinton secured passage of an ambitious deficit reduction plan, combining spending cuts with tax increases targeted against the rich , and won Congressional approval of the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and wide-ranging anti crime bills. His alleged involvement in irregular financial dealings in the 1980s (the Whitewater affair) thereafter clouded his presidency and in the autumn of 1994 his much-championed health-care reform proposals were blocked by Congress. A subsequent diplomatic success in Haiti and the return of its democratically elected president Aristide failed to prevent a devastating defeat for his party in the Nov 1994 midterm elections.

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