Served: January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
Born: August 19, 1946
Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas
Political Party: Democratic
Spouse: Hillary Rodham
A Popular President and an Infamous Scandal
Bill Clinton is known for being the governor of Arkansas, being the third-youngest president to serve, and for an infamous sexual scandal involving a White House intern.
Although his second term became embroiled in scandal, Clinton’s ratings as president still managed to remain high and he went on to be involved in various humanitarian activities, much like his presidential predecessor, George H.W. Bush.
Early Political Aspirations
Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III, but at 15, he legally adopted his stepfather’s surname and became William Jefferson Clinton. According to Clinton, his stepfather regularly abused his mother, and at times he and his brother had to step in to protect her.
From around age 16, Clinton made the decision to be involved in politics. While in high school, he also became interested in law and later attended and graduated from Yale Law School.
During his time at Yale, Clinton met his future wife, Hillary Rodham. The couple married in 1975 and had one daughter, Chelsea. Hillary Clinton served as senator and as secretary of state after her husband retired from the presidency.
Bill Clinton’s Pets
MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets
A Scandal, Impeachment, and Acquittal
Clinton began his political career in Arkansas when he was elected as Arkansas attorney general in 1976 and in 1978 as governor. He served again in 1982 and remained as governor until 1992, when he entered the presidential race as the Democratic nominee against George H.W. Bush and third-party candidate Ross Perot.
Clinton’s presidential career was defined by polarizing opposites. During his presidency, Americans enjoyed economic expansion. He instituted changes to social welfare and State Children’s Health Insurance programs.
However, in his second term, he was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice — but acquitted by the Senate — because of a sexual scandal involving an intern, which took place at the White House.
He served the rest of his second term and was succeeded by George W. Bush.
Did You Know…?
- Before his political aspirations, Clinton played the tenor saxophone and debated dedicating his life to becoming a musician. According to Clinton, he chose politics over music because he felt he could be more successful in the realm of public service. However, he never gave up his love of music and continued playing the saxophone as a hobby.
- Among his political influences, Clinton counts meeting President John F. Kennedy and listening to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech for the first time as two events that impressed him enough to push him into the realm of politics and public service.
- Clinton won a Grammy award in 2004, and again in 2005, for his readings of Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks and his reading of his autobiography, My Life.