In announcing his intention to seek the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton called for a jobs plan to lift the country out of its economic recession, tax cuts for the middle class, and a form of national health insurance. During the campaign, Clinton was pursued by questions about his character. He was attacked by some for evading military service and appearing to cover it up.
Nevertheless, he won enough delegates to assure his swift nomination at the 1992 Democratic convention. For his VICE-PRESIDENTIAL running mate, Clinton chose 44-year-old Senator Albert (Al) Gore of Tennessee.
Capitalizing on the poor state of the nation’s economy, Clinton won 370 ELECTORAL votes to 168 for his Republican opponent, President George BUSH. The entry into the campaign of a strong independent candidate, H. Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire, made it a three-way race. No candidate won a majority of the popular vote, but Clinton won a plurality of 43 percent, compared to 38 percent for Bush and 19 percent for Perot. It was only the second time in 28 years that a Democrat had won the presidency.
Clinton’s Presidency – First Term
Domestic Affairs: Soon after taking office, Clinton called for nearly $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts. Although Republicans and some conservative Democrats opposed his plans to raise taxes, Congress finally gave the new president much of what he had asked for. Clinton also won congressional approval for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
However, one of Clinton’s top priorities–health reform–met with stiff opposition. Critics complained that his proposal would cost too much and lead to government interference in the health care system. Clinton had to abandon the idea.
Meanwhile, Clinton devoted considerable time to dealing with allegations of misconduct prior to his election as president. One controversy stemmed from investments that he and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had made in the Whitewater Development Corporation, an Arkansas real estate development firm. The other concerned charges of sexual harassment made by a former Arkansas government employee, Paula Jones. These issues contributed to the Democratic Party’s defeat in the 1994 midterm elections and helped the Republicans gain control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.
But the efforts of congressional Republicans to balance the budget while cutting back spending and reducing taxes led to a shutdown of the federal government. This angered the American people, many of whom sided with President Clinton, who had opposed the Republican moves. Clinton emerged as the victor in this struggle, and that success paved the way for his re-election in 1996.
Foreign Affaris: In international matters, Clinton helped bring about an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) concerning self-rule for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And in the Balkans, he sent 20,000 American troops to serve as part of an international peacekeeping force.
In the 1996 elections, Clinton won 49 percent of the popular vote and 379 electoral votes. His opponents were the Republican candidate, former U.S. senator Robert (Bob) Dole of Kansas, and independent candidate H. Ross Perot.
First Year: 1997. On the domestic front, the president’s first major accomplishment of his second term was to reach an agreement with the Republican Congress on how to achieve a balanced budget. Despite tax cuts worth $95 billion, the balance was to be achieved by trimming $263 billion from federal expenditures, including $122 billion from Social Security over a five-year period.
Meanwhile, in addition to the Whitewater investigation and the Paula Jones case, Clinton and Vice President Gore were accused of questionable fund-raising activities for the 1996 campaign. Clinton insisted that they had acted “within the letter of the law” and called for campaign finance reform.
In foreign affairs, the president persuaded Russian president Boris N. Yeltsin to accept the expansion of NATO by admitting three former Soviet Bloc countries as members.
Second Year: 1998. At the start of the year, President Clinton set out to build on his previous accomplishments in the White House by supporting the Social Security system, aiding education, and reforming health care. But even before he could outline his goals in his State of the Union message, his plans were disrupted by the latest and most serious scandal to confront his presidency. This controversy sprang from charges that he had had an improper relationship with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, and then tried to cover up the relationship. Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, who had been investigating the Whitewater case, began looking into whether Clinton had committed perjury by denying the affair with Lewinsky in a sworn deposition in the Paula Jones case, and whether he had tried to get Lewinsky to lie in her own sworn statement in the Jones lawsuit.
At first Clinton denied the charges, and his supporters accused Starr, a conservative Republican, of seeking to embarrass the president, a Democrat. The public continued to give Clinton high ratings in the polls. But then Lewinsky confirmed the affair in testimony before Starr’s grand jury, and Clinton was forced to admit that he had not told the truth. Starr meanwhile sent a report to the House of Representatives, contending that the president’s alleged actions of committing perjury and obstructing justice could be grounds for impeachment.
Despite this personal turmoil, Clinton continued to play an active role in foreign affairs. He threatened to launch air strikes against Iraq until that country agreed to cooperate with United Nations inspections of its weapons facilities. After terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Clinton ordered retaliatory strikes at terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and Sudan.
In the 1998 mid-term Congressional elections, Democrats won more seats than was expected, indicating that a majority of Americans continued to support the president. But on December 19, Clinton was impeached by the House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. As the case moved to the Senate for trial, popular support for the president grew, making removal from office appear unlikely.
Despite this turmoil, Clinton continued to play an active role in foreign affairs. After terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Clinton ordered retaliatory strikes at terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan and Sudan. The president also ordered the bombing of Iraq when that country refused to allow United Nations inspection of its weapons facilities. In a peacekeeping role, Clinton helped negotiate a Mideast pact between Israel and Palestinian leaders. Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from land claimed by the Palestinians in return for a promise to stop terrorism against Israel.
Third Year: 1999. Clinton began the year facing an impeachment trial in the Senate (which, like the House of Representatives, was controlled by the Republican Party by a margin of 55 to 45). But the president had an advantage in the Senate, because a guilty verdict on impeachment charges requires a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators–a dozen or so more than were likely to vote against him.
On February 12, the president was easily acquitted on both the impeachment and perjury charges, with his accusers failing to get a majority on either vote. But soon after the Senate verdict, the Lewinsky affair caused him further embarrassment. Clinton was found to be in contempt of court and fined nearly $90,000 for giving false testimony in the Paula Jones case in 1998. Thus he became the first president to be cited for contempt.
In the midst of his impeachment trial, Clinton delivered his State of the Union address. The president proposed using most of the anticipated budget surplus to strengthen the social security system and Medicare. But Republicans wanted to use much of the surplus for a tax cut of nearly $800 billion, which the president threatened to veto.
In international affairs, Clinton launched the biggest military operation of his presidency on March 25, joining other NATO countries in a massive bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. The aim was to force Yugoslavian president Slobodan Miloevi to stop attacks on ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo. After ten weeks of bombing, Milosevic agreed to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. Clinton claimed victory, and without losing a single soldier in combat.
1992 November 3 – Clinton and his running mate, Senator Al Gore (D, Tennessee), were elected with 43% of the popular vote, to 38% for George Bush and 19% for Ross Perot.
1993 April 19 – government siege on the Branch Davidians coumpound at Waco Texas resultes in the death of 76 people [Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum]
June 18: Clinton gets $200 haircut on Air Force One, shutting down two runways at Los Angeles International Airport for an hour
July 20 – Vince Foster dies – labeled a suicide – post-mortem – Snippets
Aug 19: Clinton announces “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gays in the military
1994 March 14 – Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell announces his resignation
1995 April 19 – bombing of federal builing in Oklahoma City results in the death of 168 people.
June – Monica Lewinsky, 21, comes to the White House as an unpaid intern in the office of Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.
1996 April 3 – Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown dies in a plane crash near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Botched Investigation? A Cover up?
August 22. President Clinton signs the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Welfare Reform Timeline
Nov – Clinton wins reelection to second term with at popular vote of 45,628,667 (Bob Dole 37,869,435)
1997 February 25 – The overnight Guest List – released by the Clinton Administration Clinton – acknowledges he personally encouraged rewarding DNC donors with overnight stays at the Lincoln Bedroom.
October – Jiang Zemin Visit – Guest list for the state dinner and remarks
1998 Jan 14 – Lewinsky gives Tripp a document headed “Points to make in an affidavit,” coaching Tripp on what to tell Jones’ lawyers about Kathleen Willey [CNN/AllPolitics - Investigating The President]
January 17: Did you have an extramarital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky? ?No.? Bill Clinton on Record [ABC News]
Jan 19 – Lewinsky’s name surfaces in the Drudge Report
January 26 – Standing alongside First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Al Gore in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Clinton waged his finger at news cameras and declared: “But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time — never. These allegations are false. ” [audio]
March 22 – April 2 – Bill Clinton takes trip to Africa [Clinton's Africa Trip] – GAO study put the cost of the trip at $42.8 million ? excluding security expenses.
June – Trip to China
August 17 – speech to the American public re: Monica Lewinsky
August 20 – Clinton orders Cruise Missile Strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan – Credible Deception?
December 19 – House votes to Impeach Clinton [Documents Center University of Michigan Library]
1999 May 7 – US planes bomb Chinese embassy in Belgrade – MacLean’s Guide
2000 Jan 4 – The Clintons move belongings to house at 15 Old House Lane, Chappaqua, NY [map]
Source S6A (10/22/00) The Clinton Presidency and the Crisis of Democracy by Howard
Source S6A (10/22/00) Yahoo! News Full Coverage – Clinton Impeachment Aftermath
Source S6B (10/22/00) Clinton trial – Interactive who’s who and timeline
Source S6A (10/22/00) Fairlamb’s Corner – Bill Clinton’s record and returning common
sense to politics
Source S5B (10/22/00) Bill Clinton’s Record As US President
Source S5A (10/22/00) The Unofficial Bill Clinton Site