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Bill Clinton

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On August 19, 1946, William Jefferson blithe IV was born in the small town of Hope, Arkansas. William never had the opportunity to meet his father who was a traveling salesman. William's mother was still mourning the loss of her beloved husband who died only three months earlier in a tragic car accident. "As a small child, Bill lived with his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, and her parents in Hope, Arkansas" (Maraniss, 1995). When Bill was a year old, his mother moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to study nursing. While his mother was away, Bill was being raised by his grandparents. Four years later, in hopes of a better life, Virginia remarried to Roger Clinton. Roger turned out to be an alcoholic, which lead him to become violent towards Bill and his mother Virginia. At age 14, young Bill had enough of the abuse. He finally stood up to his stepfather. After gaining the respect of his father figure, Bill decided to take the last name of Clinton.

Clinton's high school years were just as all teenagers wished for. Clinton was a popular guy with lots of friends and even then he had a drive to be successful in life. Clinton's passion for playing saxophone led him to consider a life as a professional musician. However, after having the opportunity to meet President John F. Kennedy at the White House Rose Garden during his senior year in high school, Clinton's previous musician dreams came to a halting stop.

After graduated from High School, he knew that the only way he would accomplish all his goals would be to attend college. Clinton did understand that attending college would be expensive, but he also knew that it would be well worth the expense. Clinton's hard work in school, combined with his music ability, earned him many academic and music scholarships. With the assistants of those scholarships and loans from the government, Clinton decided to attend Georgetown University located in Washington, D.C. He decided to attend Georgetown University because the school had an excellent Foreign Service program and also because it was located in the nation's capital.

Clinton earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in International Affairs and worked as an intern in the office of Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. After graduating from Georgetown University, Clinton continued his education by attending Oxford University in England and Yale University. "Clinton won a Rhodes scholarship to the University of Oxford in England, and he spent two years in Oxford's graduate program" (Tyrrell, 1996). After graduating from Oxford University, Clinton attended Yale University where he studied Law. While there, Clinton kept his concentration in government by campaigning for Senator Candidates in Connecticut. While at Yale, Clinton also met Hillary Rodham, whom he would later marry on October 11, 1975. When Clinton graduated from Yale University in 1973, he returned to Arkansas to teach at the University of Arkansas Law School.

In 1974, while teaching his first year at the University of Arkansas, Clinton decided it was time to enter his first political race. His target was winning a seat in the United States House of Representatives. It was not going to be easy to win the campaign because the current incumbent, John Paul Hammerschmidt, was extremely popular and considered unbeatable. Nevertheless, Clinton defeated three Democratic candidates to become the parties' official nominee to run against Hammerschmidt. Clinton ran an energetic campaign but was still defeated. Hammerschmidt won the race by getting 52 percent of the votes.

Clinton was devastated after being defeated in 1974 for Congress Campaign for Arkansas' 3rd district. However, the power of his devastation was no match for Clinton's determination. Three years after his defeat to Hammerschmidt, Clinton decided to run for Governor of Arkansas when Governor David Pryor decided to run for a spot in the U.S. Senate. When all was said and done, Clinton won easily, receiving 63 percent of the vote against Republican candidate, Lynn Lowe. When Clinton took office in January 1979 at age 32, he was one of the youngest governors in the nation's history. "Bill Clinton took his first oath of office as governor on January 10, 1979, in the packed House chamber of the Capitol" (Allen, 1992 pg.54). Although things were looking up at this time, Clinton failed to be re-elected for a second term. In the 1982 campaign, Clinton worked hard to convince voters that he was well aware of his previous mistakes and was more mature. Clinton buckled down and become governor once more in January of 1983. Clinton easily went on to win re-election three more times.

In the middle of all this political excitement, Clinton was falling deeply in love. While attending Yale, Clinton met Hillary Rodham and by the time 1975 rolled around, he was certain that she was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Bill and Hillary were engaged and married shortly after his decision. Hillary even established her own very successful law practice in Little Rock, Arkansas. Five years after they were married, Hillary became pregnant and they were blessed with their only daughter, Chelsea.

After being governor of Arkansas for the past ten years of his life, he began to become impatient. Clinton had bigger things on his agenda, and he was eager to get started. Clinton was ready to make his high school dream a reality. Clinton announced his intention to seek the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. In his campaign's outline, a booklet titled "A plan for America's Future," Clinton boldly declared that the future of the nation is in serious jeopardy and that he has suggestions, answers, and solutions to the problems which we face (Moore, 1992a, p.217). In the booklet, Clinton declares:

I am running for President with a specific plan for economic change, a plan to jump-start our economy in the short-term and a new long-term strategy to turn our country's economy around and restore the American Dream for all (Moore, 1992b, p.218).

While Clinton was governor, he was constantly coming up with new ideas, goals, and campaign tactics, just waiting for this moment to put them to use. Clinton didn't waste a minute to start gaining popularity. Clinton possessed excellent campaigning skills. He had the ability to sharply identify issues in his favor. As most everyone does, Clinton had the tendency to give in to public opinion instead of trying to shape it. For example, during his 1992 presidential campaign, he revealed that he wore boxers, not briefs. Although the comment was beside the point, these types of remarks were the possible reasons that made him an appealing, down-to-earth president.



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