Can Bill Clinton run for president of France?

Can Bill Clinton run for president of France?

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Bill Clinton says in an interview (Bill Clinton on running for political office again) :

Because I was born in Arkansas, which is part of Louisiana Purchase, any person anywhere in the world that was born in a place that ever was a part of the French empire, if you move to, if you live in France for six months and speak French you can run for president of France

Is it true or just a joke ?

In short:

It was true until 2006. Now he can still run for president of France, but through the standard way : he can acquire French nationality through naturalization (like anyone) and run for president as a French citizen!

More precisely :

Clinton likely got the Louisiana Purchase idea from political scientist Patrick Weil, who wrote an open letter to him in the New York Times in 2001 suggesting it:

Under Section 5 of Article 21-19 of the French civil code, citizens of states or territories over which France has ever exercised sovereignty or extended a mandate or protectorate may apply immediately for naturalization, without the normal five-year residency requirement.

Arkansas, where you were born, was once part of French Louisiana. And as a naturalized French citizen, you would have the same full rights as all other French citizens. That includes running for the presidency.

Unfortunately for Clinton, and his fellow Louisiana territory residents, Section 5 has been abrogé and doesn't appear in the current version of the code. According to a footnote in a 2004 New York Review of Books article, "After Weil's article made this provision of the French nationality law notorious, the French parliament abolished it in on July 24, 2006."

Here is the french civil code extract (Article 21-19):

Peut être naturalisé sans condition de stage :

5° Le ressortissant ou ancien ressortissant des territoires et des Etats sur lesquels la France a exercé soit la souveraineté, soit un protectorat, un mandat ou une tutelle ;

Its true that he said it. However, the statement itself was not true. (Sorry, French Clinton fans!)

He apparently got that idea from an open letter a political scientist wrote to him in the New York Times back in 2001 suggesting the idea. The problem there, however, is that after that letter brought attention to the Louisiana Purchase loophole, the French parliament went on to abolish the provision in 2006.

He could still try for President of the UN General Assembly I suppose.

Bill Clinton

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Bill Clinton, byname of William Jefferson Clinton, original name William Jefferson Blythe III, (born August 19, 1946, Hope, Arkansas, U.S.), 42nd president of the United States (1993–2001), who oversaw the country’s longest peacetime economic expansion. In 1998 he became the second U.S. president to be impeached he was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.

Why is Bill Clinton important?

Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States (1993–2001). He oversaw the country’s longest peacetime economic expansion. In 1998 Clinton became the second U.S. president to be impeached he was acquitted by the Senate in 1999.

What was Bill Clinton’s childhood like?

Bill Clinton’s father was a traveling salesman who died before his son was born. His widow, Virginia Dell Blythe, married Roger Clinton, and her son eventually took his stepfather’s name. Bill Clinton developed political aspirations at an early age they were solidified (by his own account) in 1963, when he met Pres. John F. Kennedy.

What is Bill Clinton’s family like?

Bill Clinton is married to Hillary Clinton, who served as a U.S. senator (2001–09) and as secretary of state (2009–13) in the administration of Pres. Barack Obama and was the first woman presidential nominee of a major party in the United States. They have one daughter, Chelsea, and three grandchildren.

What is Bill Clinton’s occupation?

Bill Clinton taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He served as attorney general and then governor of Arkansas, and he became the U.S. president in 1993. After his presidency, Clinton remained active in politics and was a popular speaker on the lecture circuit. He is the board chair of the Clinton Foundation.

Where was Bill Clinton educated?

Bill Clinton enrolled at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1964 and graduated in 1968 with a degree in international affairs. That year he went to the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and he graduated from Yale University Law School in 1973.

What is Bill Clinton’s legacy as president?

An assessment of Bill Clinton’s legacy as U.S. president should take into account the effects of his administration’s domestic and foreign policy as well as his impeachment and subsequent acquittal, among other factors. Brief summaries of Clinton’s accomplishments are available at


An incident took place in 1996 as the votes in the presidential election were coming in. Bill Clinton was on his way to defeating Bob Dole. Respected commentator David Brinkley made an unflattering remark about Clinton, not knowing his microphone was still on. He staed that with Clinton reelected, “Now we (America) will be subjected to another four years of God [email protected] nonsense.”

While I personally agreed with those sentiments, and while I would argue the Seinfeld (Clinton) Presidency really was a nonsensical era of nothingness, the remarks themselves were beneath the normally dignified Mr. Brinkley. Unwilling to make a phony, namby-pamby non-apology apology (quite Clintonian actually), he was contrite and sincere. He stated that we as people, “Don’t always have to be right…but we do have to be fair.”

Mr. Brinkley apologized to Mr. Clinton, and to his credit, Mr. Clinton was gracious enough to do an interview with him after the election.

I think of that quote often because I value my integrity. Now that I have a blog, I zealously guard my brand. I never want to be the Jayson Blair Times, accused of shoddy work, low standards, and a lack of ethics. The only thing I have in this world is my name, and it matters to me.

Therefore, my obligations to my readers are𔅽) To admit my biases. I am a conservative republican. I am absolutely biased. 2) To try and be right as often as possible. 3) To be fair to people, and admit when I am wrong. Mistakes will happen, but they must be acknowledged, and not with a page 37 retraction in fine print.

So now I have a question for the world. Is Bill Clinton a convicted felon. I have stated that he is. It is my understanding that as part of his plea agreement, he was fined $90,000 by Judge Susan Webber Wright, and surrendered his law license. It was my understanding that this was a felony plea. I am aware that most people associate felonies with violent crimes, and while he was accused of rape at one point, he has never pleaded guilty to a violent crime. However, there are non-violent felonies, and my understanding was that his plea was a felony plea.

I need to know the truth. There are millions of reasons to hammer Bill and Hill, but I do not wish to be part of the conspiracy crowd. I have seen it directed at George W. Bush, and it sickens me.

If I am wrong, I will loudly retract my statement calling him a convicted felon, and never use that as a talking point again.

I need the help of everybody out there. Show me the evidence.

You must cite your sources, and let me view the link. Also, do not send me opinion columns. I want cold hard facts from respected legal analysts. Also, I do not want to receive anything from the Jayson Blair Times. I will not read it out of principle because they have no credibility. Other liberal or conservative sources are fine.

Again, it is vital that this question be answered. With my Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur Approaching, I do not want to have possibly spoken Loshon Hara (gossip) about an innocent man. If I am right, I will obviously beat my chest loudly and let the world know how incredibly close to prefect I am, which I may or may not apologize for on Yom Kippur.

The bottom line is I have stated that Bill Clinton is a convicted felon. Others disagree with me. The blogosphere should do its job and get me the cold hard facts.

I have often accused the Clintons of revisionist history. I do not wish to be guilty of the same transgression.

My column is not a courtroom. He is guilty until proven innocent. Again, I am biased, and I believe I am right.

Well, legal beagles of America? What say ye?

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 12:23 pm and is filed under POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Can Clinton Find The Road Back?

With the release of Kenneth Starr's report, President Clinton's fortunes may be at their lowest point yet, and the nation is openly asking whether he can ever recover, politically or personally. Here, various people give their views on how Mr. Clinton might make a comeback.

Mario M. Cuomo is the former Governor of New York.

First, President Clinton should make Senator Joseph Lieberman his point man. In his speech on the Senate floor, Mr. Lieberman criticized the President, but he also gave him a locus poenitentiae, a place for repentance under the law. The President should take advantage of that and say to the Senator: ''You are the de facto leader of the forces of righteous indignation. You have said that you can save my Presidency. Show me the way. I will do anything I must to show that I am contrite.'' When he convinces the Senator that he is truly repentant, that will be the end of any punishment but censure.

Second, the President should show how the process is wrong. Kenneth Starr has dumped these papers on the jury, the American people, without any attempt to discriminate the good from the bad. It's not fair to ask the people to arrive at a conclusion when they haven't heard the other side.

Then the President and his aides should ask the people to consider the implications of an actual impeachment trial. Imagine what a trial is -- a chance to examine and challenge every piece of paper, and examine and cross-examine every witness, and that includes Monica Lewinsky. This could go on for months and months. Imagine that spectacle no one will tolerate it. And if the public won't allow it, the politicians won't either.

Lyn Nofziger was an aide to President Ronald Reagan.

If President Clinton is to retain his Presidency, the first thing he must do is quit apologizing -- right now. Any more is maudlin -- if it isn't already -- and shows a lack of sincerity. Second, he must insist that impeachment proceedings begin immediately, on the assumption that he can ride them out. This show of confidence would re-instill confidence in his followers. Third, he must try to lift himself and his Administration above partisan politics, since at this moment he is barely welcome in his own party anyway, and tend to the nation's business. Let's see if his famed ability to compartmentalize is still functioning.

Last, if he is cleared by the Senate, he must shed his bitterness as well as his sanctimonious airs and ways, and spend his last two years working to be President of all the people. It won't work, but it's worth a try.

Alan Brinkley is a history professor at Columbia University.

Other than salacious details, the Starr report appears to add very little to what most of us have known for months. What has changed is less our knowledge of the facts than the public's perception of them.

The challenge facing President Clinton, in the short term at least, is to change that perception yet again. His overdue acts of contrition of the last few days may help, but they will not be enough. He needs to convince the public and the Congress that the private behavior described in the Starr report, tawdry and embarrassing as it is, remains fundamentally different from the abuses of official power that have traditionally been the grounds for impeachment of public officials.

Most Americans have dismissed these accusations as unworthy of their concern for nearly nine months. Mr. Clinton needs to remind them why they did so. But merely avoiding impeachment will not restore the moral and political authority the President has lost. He needs to remind the public why it voted for him in the first place -- not for his personal morality, which most Americans have always considered flawed, but for his intelligence, his empathy and his ability to articulate the concerns of ordinary citizens.

William F. Buckley Jr. is editor at large of National Review.

As a mechanical matter, President Clinton needs only to contrive not to be impeached and convicted. To reclaim the Presidency in the eyes of the public, he needs to do not much more than what he has been doing to effect his high public approval. This will require continuing orchestration of the post-apology White House oratorio as well as adroit interventions by his courtiers and loyalists. They will take such advantages as can be taken from ambiguities, whether of witnesses or constitutional advantage or Magna Carta.

But to reclaim the Presidency in any comprehensive sense would require a change in Mr. Clinton's character. Can he do that? It's doubtful: his lapse wasn't an aberration, it was a systematic, deliberated violation, during 18 months, of elementary codes of professional and personal honor. When Abelard did it, it was possible to prevent its happening again. But here the reclaiming of the Presidency could be viewed only as the triumph of formalism, and of the nonjudgmental ethos of the 60's generation.

John F. Marszalek is a history professor at Mississippi State University and the author, most recently, of ''The Petticoat Affair: Manners, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson's White House.''

If Grover Cleveland were around, he could teach Bill Clinton a few things about comebacks. When he was running for President in 1884, a news report accused Cleveland of fathering an illegitimate child 10 years before. Although he was not sure he was the father, Cleveland dutifully accepted responsibility for the child.

His forthrightness made no difference. The campaign against him deteriorated, and his candidacy seemed doomed.

Yet Cleveland was elected President that November. Why? Less because of what he did than for what his opponent had done. That opponent, James G. Blaine, had been implicated in shady railroad deals. The nation, therefore, had to choose between a private sinner and a public one. In a close election, it chose Cleveland his private failing appeared less troublesome than the seemingly open corruption of Blaine.

So what can Bill Clinton learn from Grover Cleveland? Accept complete responsibility for personal failures, be lucky enough to have enemies with their own shortcomings, and hold steadfast to your political agenda. After the initial shock is past, the American people are less interested in sexual transgressions than they are in public achievements.

Donald Trump is a real estate developer and the author of ''Trump: The Art of the Comeback.''

President Clinton has made every mistake in the book, starting with keeping his attorneys, who mishandled the Paula Jones case. Mr. Clinton's latest attempts to grovel and continuously apologize to anyone willing to listen are demeaning both to himself and his country. How many times does he have to say ''I'm sorry''?

Because of all these mistakes, the President's only option is to leave his wife (before she leaves him), resign from office and go out and have a good time! That should help him get all of these women -- Linda Tripp, Lucianne Goldberg, Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones -- out of his mind forever.

Can Bill Clinton be president again?

Based on two interpretations in the US Constitution, probably not.

According to the 22nd Amendment, he cannot run for a third elected term. He could still succeed to the office, but only from a position lower in the order of succession than Vice President: according to the 12th Amendment, he cannot be elected Vice President.

If he were to be Vice President and the President died, he could. But having served 2 terms as an elected president, he cannot be elected President again. And if you are not eligible to be President, you are not eligible to be Vice President. So he would have to succeed following the death or incapacitation of both the sitting President and Vice President, i.e. from another government position, the highest position being Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Although William Howard Taft became the Chief Justice after leaving office, only two ex-Presidents have ever served in Congress: Andrew Johnson as a senator in 1874 and John Quincy Adams as a congressman in 1830.)

22nd Amendment (ratified 1951)

"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

12th Amendment (ratified 1804)

". no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."


Weld was born in Smithtown, New York. Weld's father, David (1911–1972), was an investment banker his mother, Mary Nichols Weld (1913–1986), was a descendant of William Floyd, a signatory of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. His ancestor Edmund Weld was among the earliest students (Class of 1650) at Harvard College eighteen other Welds have attended Harvard, and two Harvard buildings are named for the family. [1] A distant cousin, General Stephen Minot Weld Jr., fought with distinction in the Civil War. [2] [3]

Weld attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, graduated with an AB summa cum laude in classics from Harvard College in 1966. He studied economics at University College, Oxford. [ citation needed ] On return to the US he graduated with a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1970. [4]

His siblings are Francis "Tim" Weld, David Weld, and Anne (married name Collins). His maternal grandfather was the ichthyologist and ornithologist John Treadwell Nichols, and his first cousin is the novelist John Nichols. [5]

Nixon impeachment inquiry Edit

Weld began his legal career as a junior counsel on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry staff during the 1974 impeachment process against Richard Nixon. He contributed to the groundbreaking "Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment" report, which detailed the historical basis and standards for impeachment of a president. He also worked on researching whether impoundment of appropriated funds was an impeachable offense. Among his colleagues was Hillary Clinton. [6]

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Edit

Weld's experience serving on the impeachment inquiry staff sparked his interest in criminal law. [6] He returned afterward to Massachusetts, where he ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts Attorney General in 1978. He lost to Democratic incumbent Francis X. Bellotti by 1,532,835 votes (78.4%) to 421,417 (21.6%).

In 1981, Weld was recommended to President Reagan by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then Associate U.S. Attorney General, for appointment as the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. During Weld's tenure, the Attorney General's office prosecuted some of New England's largest banks in cases involving money laundering and other white-collar crimes. Weld expanded an ongoing public corruption investigation of the administration of Boston Mayor Kevin White. More than 20 city employees were indicted, pleaded guilty, or were convicted of a range of charges, including several key political supporters of the Mayor. [7] In 1985, The Boston Globe said Weld "has been by far the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions." [8]

Weld gained national recognition in fighting public corruption: he won 109 convictions out of 111 cases. [9]

In 1983, The Boston Globe stated: "The U.S. Attorney's office has not lost a single political corruption case since Weld took over, an achievement believed to be unparalleled in the various federal jurisdictions." [8]

Promotion to Justice Department Edit

In 1986, President Reagan promoted Weld to head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in Washington, where Weld oversaw 700 employees. Weld was responsible for supervising all federal prosecutions, including those investigated by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the work of the 93 U.S. Attorneys (who by then included Rudy Giuliani in Manhattan). During this time, Weld worked on some of the Reagan administration's most significant prosecutions and investigations, including the capture of Panama's Manuel Noriega on drug trafficking charges.

In March 1988, Weld resigned from the Justice Department, together with United States Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, in protest of improper conduct by United States Attorney General Edwin Meese. [10] [11] In July 1988, Weld and Burns jointly testified before Congress in favor of a potential prosecution of Edwin Meese for his personal financial conduct, following a report by a special prosecutor investigating Edwin Meese. [11] Meese resigned from office in July 1988 shortly after Weld's and Burns's testimony. [11]

From 1988 to 1990, Weld was a senior partner at Hale and Dorr. [12]

In 1990, Weld announced his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts to replace the out-going Michael Dukakis. [13] Although Republicans made up under 14% of the Massachusetts electorate and a Republican had not won the gubernatorial election since 1970, Weld's liberal stances on social issues made him a viable candidate for office in the heavily Democratic state. [14] At the state Republican convention, party officials backed Steven Pierce over Weld, and initial polling had Pierce ahead by 25 percentage points. [15] However, Weld gained enough support to force a primary, and in an upset election, he won the Republican nomination over Pierce by a 60–40 margin. [16]

In the general election, he faced John Silber, the president of Boston University. Polls showed Weld anywhere from a statistical tie to trailing by as many as ten points. [17] Voter dissatisfaction with the state's Democratic majority gave Weld support for his promises to reduce the state deficit, lower the unemployment rate, and cut taxes, [18] while Silber's statements to the right of Weld on social issues caused many Democratic voters to vote for Weld. [19] On November 6, 1990, he was elected as the 68th Governor of Massachusetts by a 50–47% margin, to become the first Republican governor of Massachusetts since Francis W. Sargent left office in 1975. Governor Weld is generally considered to have been a moderate or liberal Republican Governor. [20] [21] [22] [23] He is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. [24] [25]

The business community reacted strongly to Weld's leadership. In a 1994 survey of chief executives conducted by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, 83% of those polled rated the state's business climate as good or excellent – up from 33% at the beginning of his term. Proponents might claim that Weld's leadership changed the minds of 50% of the CEOs surveyed while others would note the national economic trends or other factors might play a part. Weld also reaped the benefits of the 1990s' prosperity, as the state's unemployment rate fell by more than 3 percentage points during his first term, from 9.6% in 1991 to 6.4% in 1994. As a result, Weld received grades of A in 1992, [26] [27] B in 1994, [28] [29] and B in 1996 [30] [31] from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, in their biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors. In 1993 he supported adoption of a gun control bill in Massachusetts that included limits on gun purchases under age 21, as well as prohibiting certain types of weapons, which was not ultimately passed. [32] He has since renounced this proposal. [33] Weld is pro-choice and helped to introduce legislation to make it easier for women to access abortion procedures. [34] As Governor, he supported gay and lesbian rights. In 1992, he signed an executive order to recognize domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples. [35] In 1993, he signed into law legislation protecting the rights of gay and lesbian students. [36] He also said he would recognize same-sex marriages that might be performed out of state following a court decision in Hawaii. [37] [38] During his term, he launched a successful effort to privatize many state's human services, laying off thousands of state employees. [39] [40] One of the social services Weld opposed and eventually ended was a program providing higher education to prison inmates. [41] He also worked to expand Medicaid access by requesting more federal funding and, then, allowing more residents to qualify for the plan to both solve budget problems and increase access to health care in the state. [42] After cutting state spending year-over-year for his first two years, the Republican Party lost its ability to sustain a veto in the legislature due to losses in the Massachusetts State Senate, forcing Weld to make greater concessions to Democratic legislators. [43]

In 1994, Weld won reelection with 71% of the vote in the most one-sided gubernatorial contest in Massachusetts electoral history. [ citation needed ] Weld carried all but five towns in the whole state, even carrying Boston. [ citation needed ] Following his landslide victory, Weld briefly considered running for the presidency in 1996. [ citation needed ]

Cabinet and administration Edit

The Weld Cabinet
Governor William Weld 1991–1997
Lt. Governor Paul Cellucci 1991–1997
Secretary of Transportation and Construction Richard L. Taylor
James Kerasiotes
Secretary of Housing & Community Development Steven Pierce
Mary L. Padula
Secretary of Environmental Affairs Susan Tierney
Trudy Coxe
Secretary of Consumer Affairs Gloria Cordes Larson
Priscilla Douglas
Nancy Merrick
Secretary of Health and Human Services David P. Forsberg
Charlie Baker
Gerald Whitburn
Joseph V. Gallant
William D. O'Leary
Secretary of Elder Affairs Franklin P. Ollivierre 1991–1997
Secretary of Labor Christine Morris 1991–1996
Secretary of Administration & Finance Peter Nessen
Mark E. Robinson
Charlie Baker
Secretary of Public Safety James B. Roche
Thomas C. Rapone
Kathleen O'Toole
Director of Economic Affairs Stephen Tocco
Gloria Cordes Larson
Secretary of Education Piedad Robertson
Michael Sentance

1996 Senate election Edit

On November 30, 1995, Weld announced that he would challenge incumbent Democratic Senator John Kerry in the 1996 election. [44] Weld, who was among the first reasonably well-funded Republican Senate candidates in Massachusetts since Edward Brooke was unseated in 1978, said of the race, "I've spent some time recently considering where I can do the most good for the people of Massachusetts, and right now the fights that matter most to the people of this state are in another arena, Congress." [44]

The race was covered nationwide as one of the most closely watched Senate races that year. Noted for how civil their respective campaigns were of one another, [45] Kerry and Weld negotiated a campaign spending cap and agreed to eight separate debates leading up to the election. [46] Though facing a traditional uphill battle in a state where Democrats outnumbered Republicans 3-to-1, and running the same year as the presidential election, Weld was a popular incumbent governor and polled even with Kerry throughout the election. [47] [48]

In the end, Senator Kerry won re-election with 53 percent to Weld's 45 percent – the last seriously contested Senate race in Massachusetts until the special election for Ted Kennedy's seat in 2010. Notably, President Bill Clinton won Massachusetts in 1996 with 62% of the vote.

Ambassadorship nomination and resignation Edit

In July 1997, Weld was nominated to become United States Ambassador to Mexico by President Bill Clinton. His nomination stalled after Senate Foreign Relations committee Chairman Jesse Helms refused to hold a hearing on the nomination, effectively blocking it. Helms was also a Republican and their party held the majority in the chamber, but Helms objected to Weld's moderate stance on social issues such as his support for gay rights, abortion rights, and the legalization of medical marijuana. This refusal to hold hearings was also rumored to be at the request of former Attorney General and friend of Helms, Edwin Meese. Meese reportedly had a long-standing grudge against Weld stemming from Weld's investigation of Meese during the Iran–Contra affair. Meese denied the speculation, asserting that he wished to keep his distance from Weld. [49] Weld publicly criticized Helms, which the White House discouraged him from doing, but Weld relished the opportunity, saying: "It feels like being in a campaign. I feel newly energized. I love to stir up the pot. I seem to click on more cylinders when the pot is stirred up." Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said that Weld's chances of being confirmed weren't "very good, and that he hurt himself by attacking the chairman unfairly and with political rhetoric that was just uncalled for." There was speculation that the White House would let his nomination "die", but he refused, saying that he hoped President Clinton "does not plan to give in to ideological extortion" and that "I wanted to send a message that I wanted to be captain of my ship [the nomination] even if it's going to bottom." Some speculated that attacking the more conservative Helms was a way to position him to pick up votes from fellow moderate Republicans in a potential run for president in 2000, but he rejected this, saying that "I've had a lot of people come up to me on the street and say, 'Give 'em hell. That's the Bill Weld we know and love.'" [50]

Weld resigned the governorship on July 29, 1997, to devote his full attention to campaigning for the ambassadorship, even though few thought he would be successful there was speculation that he was really resigning because he had become tired of serving as governor. A bipartisan majority of Senators signed letters demanding that Helms advance his nomination, but Helms refused. [51] After an intensive six-week battle, [52] Weld conceded defeat and withdrew his nomination on September 15, 1997. He commented, "I asked President Clinton to withdraw my name from the Senate so I can go back to New England, where no one has to approach the government on bended knee to ask it to do its duty." [53]

Law firm, private equity partner, and 2004 election Edit

Weld was a partner in the Boston and Manhattan offices of the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery from 1997 to 2001, and head of the New York office from 2000 to 2001. [54] In December 2000, the private equity firm Leeds Equity Partners announced that Weld would join the firm, to be renamed Leeds Weld & Co., as a general partner, effective on January 1, 2001. [55] At the private equity firm, Weld later "reduced his role to a senior advisor while considering a run for New York governor" in 2005. [56] Weld rejoined McDermott Will & Emery in 2006. [54] Weld was admitted to the bar in New York in 2008. [57] In 2012, Weld moved to the Boston law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, becoming a partner there and a principal with the firm's government relations affiliate, ML Strategies LLC. [58] [59]

During the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush, who was running against Weld's old foe John Kerry, Weld helped Bush to prepare for the debates.

Kentucky college management Edit

From January to October 2005, Weld was chief executive of Decker College in Louisville, Kentucky. His term ended as the college was closing under bankruptcy protection following a disagreement with the U.S. Department of Education about accreditation of its construction-related courses and online instruction. This matter would follow Weld into the 2006 race for Governor of New York, with former U.S. Senator from New York Alfonse D'Amato asserting that Weld was responsible and oversaw "multimillion dollar looting". [60] [61]

On March 27, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported as part of an opinion article that "Bankruptcy trustee Robert Keats alleged [Ralph] LoBosco", a Department of Education employee, "was trying to exact revenge against Decker CEO William Weld". The article continued: "Education Department administrative law judge Robert Layton recently affirmed a 2012 bankruptcy court finding that the Council on Occupational Education had failed to tell the truth in stating that Decker's online programs were never accredited. The Council's 'factually erroneous' assertion caused the Education Department to withdraw federal student aid in 2005, which precipitated Decker's bankruptcy." [62]

Candidacy for Governor of New York, 2005–06 Edit

After being Governor of Massachusetts, Weld moved to New York in 2000. On April 24, 2005, it was reported that he was in talks with the New York Republicans to run for Governor of New York in 2006, against likely Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer. Incumbent GOP Governor George Pataki announced on July 27 that he would not seek a fourth term. On August 19, 2005, Weld officially announced his candidacy for Governor of New York, seeking to become the second person after Sam Houston to serve as governor of two different U.S. states. [63]

In December 2005, Weld received the backing of the Republican county chairs of New York State during a county chairs meeting. On April 29, 2006, Weld received the Libertarian Party's nomination for Governor Of New York. [64] Weld reportedly offered his chief rival for the nomination, former Republican Assembly leader John Faso, the chance to join his ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor, an offer Faso reportedly declined. [65] Faso gained increasing support from party leaders in various counties, including Westchester and Suffolk, both of which had large delegate counts to the state convention.

On June 1, 2006, the Republican State Convention voted 61% to 39% to endorse Faso over Weld. On June 5, Stephen J. Minarik (the chairman of the state Republican Party, and Weld's most prominent backer), called on Weld to withdraw from the race in the interest of party unity. [66] Weld formally announced his withdrawal from the race the following day and returned to private life. Spitzer would go on to defeat Faso by the largest margin in New York gubernatorial history. [67]

Later political involvement Edit

Weld publicly endorsed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the presidency on January 8, 2007 he was a co-chairman for Romney's campaign in New York State. [68] On the same day that Weld endorsed Romney, Gov. and Mrs. Weld also raised $50,000 for Romney's exploratory committee. Weld personally made a donation of $2,100, the maximum allowed per person per election at the time. After the maximum allowed rose to $2,300, Weld donated another $200.

Weld was also active in campaigning for Romney in New Hampshire, where both governors have been known to travel together. Weld went on to endorse Barack Obama over John McCain in the general election. [69] Weld endorsed Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [70]

2016 Libertarian vice presidential nomination Edit

On May 17, 2016, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's 2012 presidential nominee and the leading candidate for its 2016 nomination, announced his selection of Weld to be his choice for running mate. [72] [73] The vice-presidential candidate is formally nominated separately from and after the presidential candidate under the Libertarian Party's rules, although as the presidential nominee Johnson was first allowed to speak about his endorsement of Weld. Both candidates won their nominations on a second ballot after narrowly failing to attain an absolute majority on the first ballot. [74] [75] Weld accepted the Libertarian Party's nomination for vice president at the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando, Florida on May 29. [76]

During the campaign, Weld took the lead on fundraising operations, as well as appearing on national television and at campaign rallies across the nation. [77] [78] Together, Johnson and Weld were the first presidential ticket to consist of two Governors since the 1948 election when Thomas Dewey of New York ran as a Republican with Earl Warren of California and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ran as a States' Rights Democrat with Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi. [79] Despite polling higher than any third-party campaign since Ross Perot in 1992, Johnson and Weld were excluded from the debates controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates and their poll numbers subsequently declined. [80] [81]

Nationwide, the Johnson/Weld ticket received 4,488,919 votes (3.3%), breaking the Libertarian Party's record for both absolute vote total (previously 1,275,923 for Johnson in 2012) and percentage (previously 1.1% for Ed Clark and David Koch in 1980).

2020 presidential campaign Edit

On January 17, 2019, Weld rejoined the Republican Party, increasing speculation that he would run for president. [82] [83] [84] On February 14, 2019, Weld announced that he was launching a presidential exploratory committee for the 2020 Republican primary, against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. [85] [86] Appearing on Bloomberg News, Weld suggested that he could beat Trump in 2020 with help from independent voters. [87] He accused Trump on CNN the same weekend of having "showed contempt for the American people." [88] Weld challenged Trump on the issue of climate disruption, saying that he had made no effort to combat the effects of global warming. "We've got the polar ice cap that's going to melt with devastating consequences if we don’t get carbon out of the atmosphere," Weld told America's Newsroom, noting that he would plan ahead for an "environmental catastrophe." [89]

On April 15, 2019, Weld formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States on The Lead with Jake Tapper. [90] Weld received 1.3% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and one pledged delegate on February 3. [91]

Weld suspended his campaign on March 18, 2020. [92]

After ending his campaign, Weld announced that he voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. [93]

Other activities Edit

Weld is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. [94] He co-chaired its Independent Task Force on North America, which studied the liberalization of markets and free trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico. He was a principal at Leeds, Weld & Co., which describes itself as the United States's largest private equity fund focused on investing in the education and training industry. Weld serves on the board of directors of Acreage Holdings. [95] For a time, he wrote thrillers and works of historical fiction. [96]

In February 2013, Weld publicly supported legal recognition for same-sex marriage in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. [97]

Weld joined Our America Initiative's 2016 Liberty Tour a number of times, speaking alongside other libertarian leaders and activists such as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director and former Baltimore Police Chief Neill Franklin, Free the People's Matt Kibbe, Republican activists Ed Lopez and Liz Mair, Conscious Capitalism's Alex McCobin, Reason Foundation's David Nott, Foundation for Economic Education's Jeffrey Tucker, the Libertarian Party's Carla Howell, and author and journalist Naomi Wolf the tour raised "awareness about third party inclusion in national presidential debates" and "spread the message of liberty and libertarian thought." [98] [99] [100]

Throughout 2017 and 2018, Weld appeared at several state Libertarian Party conventions and endorsed various Libertarian candidates in the 2018 United States elections. In January 2019, Weld changed his party affiliation back to Republican, in preparation for his presidential run as a Republican. [101]

Weld married Susan Roosevelt Weld, a great-granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt, on June 7, 1975. [102] Susan Roosevelt Weld was a professor at Harvard University specializing in ancient Chinese civilization and law, and she later served as General Counsel to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The Welds had five children: David Minot (born 1976), a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara Ethel Derby (born 1977), a physician Mary Blake (born 1979), an attorney Quentin Roosevelt (born 1981), an attorney and Frances Wylie (born 1983), who has worked for the San Francisco Giants. [103] The couple divorced in 2002. [102]

Weld's second and present wife is writer Leslie Marshall. They live in Canton, Massachusetts. [104]

Presidency of Bill Clinton

The Clinton administration got off to a shaky start, the victim of what some critics called ineptitude and bad judgment. His attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the military was met with criticism from conservatives and some military leaders—including Gen. Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In response, Clinton proposed a compromise policy—summed up by the phrase “Don’t ask, don’t tell”—that failed to satisfy either side of the issue. Clinton’s first two nominees for attorney general withdrew after questions were raised about domestic workers they had hired. Clinton’s efforts to sign campaign-finance reform legislation were quashed by a Republican filibuster in the Senate, as was his economic-stimulus package.

Clinton had promised during the campaign to institute a system of universal health insurance. His appointment of his wife to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, a novel role for the country’s first lady, was criticized by conservatives, who objected both to the propriety of the arrangement and to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s feminist views. They joined lobbyists for the insurance industry, small-business organizations, and the American Medical Association to campaign vehemently against the task force’s eventual proposal, the Health Security Act. Despite protracted negotiations with Congress, all efforts to pass compromise legislation failed.

Despite these early missteps, Clinton’s first term was marked by numerous successes, including the passage by Congress of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which created a free-trade zone for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Clinton also appointed several women and minorities to significant government posts throughout his administration, including Janet Reno as attorney general, Donna Shalala as secretary of Health and Human Services, Joycelyn Elders as surgeon general, Madeleine Albright as the first woman secretary of state, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman justice on the United States Supreme Court. During Clinton’s first term, Congress enacted a deficit-reduction package—which passed the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Gore—and some 30 major bills related to education, crime prevention, the environment, and women’s and family issues, including the Violence Against Women Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In January 1994 Attorney General Reno approved an investigation into business dealings by Clinton and his wife with an Arkansas housing development corporation known as Whitewater. Led from August by independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater inquiry consumed several years and more than $50 million but did not turn up conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons.

The renewal of the Whitewater investigation under Starr, the continuing rancorous debate in Congress over Clinton’s health care initiative, and the liberal character of some of Clinton’s policies—which alienated significant numbers of American voters—all contributed to Republican electoral victories in November 1994, when the party gained a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. A chastened Clinton subsequently tempered some of his policies and accommodated some Republican proposals, eventually embracing a more aggressive deficit-reduction plan and a massive overhaul of the country’s welfare system while continuing to oppose Republican efforts to cut government spending on social programs. Ultimately, most American voters found themselves more alienated by the uncompromising and confrontational behaviour of the new Republicans in Congress than they had been by Clinton, who won considerable public sympathy for his more moderate approach.

Clinton’s initiatives in foreign policy during his first term included a successful effort in September–October 1994 to reinstate Haitian Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been ousted by a military coup in 1991 the sponsorship of peace talks and the eventual Dayton Accords (1995) aimed at ending the ethnic conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a leading role in the ongoing attempt to bring about a permanent resolution of the dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. In 1993 he invited Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat to Washington to sign a historic agreement that granted limited Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.

Although scandal was never far from the White House—a fellow Arkansan who had been part of the administration committed suicide there were rumours of financial irregularities that had occurred in Little Rock former associates were indicted and convicted of crimes and rumours of sexual impropriety involving the president persisted—Clinton was handily reelected in 1996, buoyed by a recovering and increasingly strong economy. He captured 49 percent of the popular vote to Republican Bob Dole’s 41 percent and Perot’s 8 percent the electoral vote was 379 to 159. Strong economic growth continued during Clinton’s second term, eventually setting a record for the country’s longest peacetime expansion. By 1998 the Clinton administration was overseeing the first balanced budget since 1969 and the largest budget surpluses in the country’s history. The vibrant economy also produced historically high levels of home ownership and the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 30 years.

In 1998 Starr was granted permission to expand the scope of his continuing investigation to determine whether Clinton had encouraged a 24-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, to state falsely under oath that she and Clinton had not had an affair. Clinton repeatedly and publicly denied that the affair had taken place. His compelled testimony, which appeared evasive and disingenuous even to Clinton’is is”), prompted renewed criticism of Clinton’s character from conservatives and liberals alike. After conclusive evidence of the affair came to light, Clinton apologized to his family and to the American public. On the basis of Starr’s 445-page report and supporting evidence, the House of Representatives in 1998 approved two articles of impeachment, for perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton was acquitted of the charges by the Senate in 1999. Despite his impeachment, Clinton’s job-approval rating remained high.

President Clinton impeached

After nearly 14 hours of debate, the House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton, the second president in American history to be impeached, vowed to finish his term.

In November 1995, Clinton began an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old unpaid intern. Over the course of a year and a half, the president and Lewinsky had nearly a dozen sexual encounters in the White House. In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. That summer, she first confided in Pentagon co-worker Linda Tripp about her sexual relationship with the president. In 1997, with the relationship over, Tripp began secretly to record conversations with Lewinsky, in which Lewinsky gave Tripp details about the affair.

In December, lawyers for Paula Jones, who was suing the president on sexual harassment charges, subpoenaed Lewinsky. In January 1998, allegedly under the recommendation of the president, Lewinsky filed an affidavit in which she denied ever having had a sexual relationship with him. Five days later, Tripp contacted the office of Kenneth Starr, the Whitewater independent counsel, to talk about Lewinsky and the tapes she made of their conversations. Tripp, wired by FBI agents working with Starr, met with Lewinsky again, and on January 16, Lewinsky was taken by FBI agents and U.S. attorneys to a hotel room where she was questioned and offered immunity if she cooperated with the prosecution. A few days later, the story broke, and Clinton publicly denied the allegations, saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”

In late July, lawyers for Lewinsky and Starr worked out a full-immunity agreement covering both Lewinsky and her parents, all of whom Starr had threatened with prosecution. On August 6, Lewinsky appeared before the grand jury to begin her testimony, and on August 17 President Clinton testified. Contrary to his testimony in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment case, President Clinton acknowledged to prosecutors from the office of the independent counsel that he had had an extramarital affair with Ms. Lewinsky.

In four hours of closed-door testimony, conducted in the Map Room of the White House, Clinton spoke live via closed-circuit television to a grand jury in a nearby federal courthouse. He was the first sitting president ever to testify before a grand jury investigating his conduct. That evening, President Clinton also gave a four-minute televised address to the nation in which he admitted he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Lewinsky. In the brief speech, which was wrought with legalisms, the word “sex” was never spoken, and the word “regret” was used only in reference to his admission that he misled the public and his family.

Less than a month later, on September 9, Kenneth Starr submitted his report and 18 boxes of supporting documents to the House of Representatives. Released to the public two days later, the Starr Report outlined a case for impeaching Clinton on 11 grounds, including perjury, obstruction of justice, witness-tampering, and abuse of power, and also provided explicit details of the sexual relationship between the president and Ms. Lewinsky. On October 8, the House authorized a wide-ranging impeachment inquiry, and on December 11, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment. On December 19, the House impeached Clinton.

On January 7, 1999, in a congressional procedure not seen since the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, the trial of President Clinton got underway in the Senate. As instructed in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (William Rehnquist at this time) was sworn in to preside, and the senators were sworn in as jurors.

Five weeks later, on February 12, the Senate voted on whether to remove Clinton from office. The president was acquitted on both articles of impeachment. The prosecution needed a two-thirds majority to convict but failed to achieve even a bare majority. Rejecting the first charge of perjury, 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted “not guilty,” and on the charge of obstruction of justice the Senate was split 50-50. After the trial concluded, President Clinton said he was “profoundly sorry” for the burden his behavior imposed on Congress and the American people.

Q&A on the News

A: Constitutional scholars are split on that issue. The 12th Amendment states: "No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president shall be eligible to that of vice president." "But many scholars agree that this clause would not stop Bill Clinton from running for vice president," UGA law professor Dan Coenen, told Q&A on the News in an email. He wrote: "Article II, Section I, Clause 4 addresses the subject of who shall be 'eligible to the Office of the president,' and it imposes only a natural-born-citizen requirement, a 35-year-old minimum-age requirement and a 14-year minimum-residency requirement. Therefore, because Bill Clinton is not 'ineligible' to be president, he is 'eligible' to be vice president." Others argue that allowing Bill Clinton to run for vice president would "compromise the underlying purpose of the 22nd Amendment," Coenen wrote, which sets presidential term limits. Additionally, the last line of the 22nd Amendment, might imply that even if Bill Clinton is "electable" as vice president, he "could take over as president for no more than two years." There's another issue with a potential Clinton-Clinton ticket. A member of the Electoral College for a particular state can't vote for both a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate from the same state, according to the 12th Amendment. That means no elector from New York can vote for two New Yorkers, Coenen wrote, so one of the Clintons would need to move.

Biden says it’s his ‘expectation’ that he’ll run for president again

President Joe Biden said Thursday he plans to run for re-election, but demurred on whether he thought he’d be facing Donald Trump again.

“My plan is to run for re-election,” Biden said at his first news conference as president. “That’s my expectation.”

The 78-year-old veteran politician is the oldest president ever sworn in, and would be 82 at the beginning of a second term.

Biden said he would “fully expect” Vice President Kamala Harris to join him again on the Democratic ticket, saying she’s doing a “great job.”

Biden jokingly said he missed Trump, who has teased another run for the White House. But Biden said “I have no idea” when asked if he’d compete again against the Republican.

Biden took reporters’ questions for about an hour, including on immigration, the Senate filibuster, voting rights and China policy. He also announced a new vaccination goal at the opening.

U.S. stocks mostly recovered lost ground on Thursday afternoon, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.28% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.23% climbing, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.12% fell.

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Bill Clinton: Life Before the Presidency

William Jefferson Clinton spent the first six years of his life in Hope, Arkansas, where he was born on August 19, 1946. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, had died in an auto accident several months before his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, gave birth to the future President. Raised in the home of his grandmother, Edith Cassidy, Bill's early years were dominated by two strong women, who often competed for his attention. His mother, a vivacious and fun-loving free spirit, was often away from home taking nursing classes in New Orleans. It was during those periods that his grandmother, a temperamental and strong-willed disciplinarian, tried to shape her grandson's character—and taught him to be a very early reader. Bill later remembered loving both women during that time of his life but feeling torn between them as a young mediator of their arguments.

In 1950, Bill's mother married Roger Clinton, a car dealer and abusive alcoholic. The family moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, a bustling resort town an hour away. (She later divorced Roger Clinton when Bill was fifteen, only to remarry him quickly thereafter.) Again, Clinton had to intervene between two adults engaged in violent arguments. As a teenager, Bill excelled in school and showed a passion for politics. He played saxophone in a high school band and especially loved the gospel music of his Baptist faith. The fun of gambling dens and mineral spas competed for Bill's attention with Baptist churches and politics. But while his mother went to the racetracks on Sunday, Bill attended church, principally to hear the music he loved. In this small community, Bill was widely recognized as a young man of rare talent and ambition.

An Education for Leadership

Hot Springs High School, although a segregated all-white school, stood heads above most public schools in Arkansas. School Principal Johnnie Mae Mackey—another strong woman in Clinton's life—recruited staff committed to producing leaders who thought of personal success in terms of public service. Clinton became her brightest protégé. It was under her mentoring that Clinton was sent to Washington, D.C., as one of two Arkansas delegates to Boy's Nation, an imitation political convention sponsored by the American Legion. While there, the seventeen-year-old Clinton was captured in a historic photograph shaking hands with his political idol, President John F. Kennedy, in the White House Rose Garden. That July 1963 handshake later symbolized the continuity between the Kennedy 1960s and the Clinton 1990s. Ever since he was child, Clinton's mother had told him that he would some day be President of the United States. The Kennedy handshake left Clinton determined to fulfill her prediction. (Virginia Clinton lived to see her son become President, dying in 1994 of cancer.)

Upon graduation from high school in 1964, Clinton left Little Rock to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. An international affairs major, he managed to cover his expenses through scholarships and by working part-time jobs. At this Catholic-sponsored, well-heeled institution, the student body clearly looked upon Clinton as an outsider from backwoods Arkansas. Although a clique of students running the newspaper discouraged Clinton's efforts to contribute to the school, his energy, dashing good looks, and personal charm pushed him to the top in student government. He won the presidency of his freshman and sophomore classes. In his junior year, Clinton ran for president of the student council, but lost in a stunning defeat. In attempting to please everybody, Clinton had miscalculated. He looked too political to his peers, and they elected his lesser-known opponent.

Rhodes Scholar and Vietnam Draftee

Beginning in his junior year, Clinton worked as a clerk for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. At that time, the powerful committee was headed by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, a leading critic of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The experience greatly shaped Clinton's perspective as he came to believe, as did Fulbright, that the United States had no moral or strategic reason for being in Vietnam. Just prior to his graduation from Georgetown, he won a prized Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in England for two years. However, he faced being drafted for the Vietnam War due to a change in federal policy that eliminated almost all college deferments. His local draft board in Arkansas, however, allowed him to sail for England.

While in England, Clinton received his draft notice. He then returned to Arkansas, and with the help of Fulbright's office and that of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, managed to persuade the admissions staff of the Reserve Officers' Training Corp (ROTC) program at the University of Arkansas Law School to accept him the next fall. Instead he returned to Oxford, although the evidence is unclear as to whether this was done with the approval of his ROTC contacts. Back in England, Clinton evidently remained conflicted about his decision to avoid the draft, torn between his moral convictions that the war was wrong and his sense of kinship with former classmates who were serving and dying in Vietnam. In the fall of 1969, he chose to re-subject himself to the draft—doing so, however, at a time when Nixon administration policy seemed to suggest that future call-ups of combat troops would significantly decline. In any event, Clinton's luck held when his birth date in the lottery drew the high number of 311, distant enough to ensure that he would never be called. Clinton then wrote a letter to the director of the Arkansas ROTC program thanking him for "saving" him from the draft, explaining that he still loved his country while nevertheless despising the war. In England, Clinton participated in numerous antiwar demonstrations, and both his antiwar activities and his ROTC letter resurfaced years later during his bid for the presidency in 1992. Although Clinton remained in the Rhodes Scholar program, making many contacts with students who would later become part of his administration, his Oxford coursework never added up to a degree.

Law, Politics, and Marriage

In 1970, Clinton entered Yale Law School, earning his degree in 1973 and meeting his future wife, Hillary Rodham, whom he married in 1975. During this period he also worked on the 1970 U.S. Senate campaign of Joe Duffy in Connecticut, and toward the end of his studies he managed the Texas campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern (who lost Texas in the Nixon landslide). After graduation, Clinton moved back to Arkansas with a job teaching law at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Almost as soon as he arrived home, Clinton threw himself into politics, running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Republican John Paul Hammerschmidt. Although Clinton lost this 1974 race, it was the closest election for Hammerschmidt in his twenty-six years in Congress, marking Clinton as a rising political star.

Two years later, Arkansas voters elected Clinton state attorney general. Then in 1978, at age thirty-two, Clinton ran for governor, winning an easy victory and becoming one of the nation's youngest governors ever. However, his youth and inexperience quickly left Arkansans unimpressed. Governor Clinton had several missteps, including difficulties in handling rioting among Cuban refugees temporarily interned by the federal government at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. He also raised auto license fees to pay for road construction and alienated the state's powerful timber interests by an unsuccessful intervention in the controversy over the practice of clear-cutting. Consequently, the voters turned him out in favor of Frank White, a little known, freshly minted Republican savings and loan executive. Clinton became the youngest former governor in American history.

Shocked by his defeat, Clinton went to work for a Little Rock law firm but spent most of his time campaigning for reelection. In the 1982 race, Clinton admitted his mistakes and used his incredible charm and well-honed TV ads to convince the voters to give him another chance. He won in 1982 and again in 1984. Voters then supported him for two, four-year terms in 1986 and 1990.

As governor, Clinton championed centrist issues. He strongly advocated educational reform, appointing Hillary Clinton to lead a committee to draft higher standards for Arkansas schools. One of the administration's proposals called for competence tests for all teachers, a policy development that stirred up a national debate. Governor Clinton's sweeping education reforms positively impacted Arkansas schools, which experienced a decrease in dropout rates and an increase in college-entrance exam test scores under his watch, although the state's overall rankings moved very little. During Clinton's tenure as governor of Arkansas, he favored capital punishment. He promoted welfare reforms aimed at pushing welfare recipients into the workforce and moved decisively to promote affirmative action—appointing more African Americans to state boards, commissions, and agency posts than all of his predecessors combined. Additionally, he initiated a style of government that resembled a permanent election campaign. Using the talents of the political consultant Dick Morris, Clinton pushed legislative agendas based upon public opinion polls. The governor and his strategist then built support for their policies through well-orchestrated sales campaigns that used television, leaflets, and telephone banks to pressure state lawmakers.

Creating a National Image

Setting his sights higher, Clinton used his five terms as Arkansas governor to cultivate a national profile for himself. He soon emerged as one of the leading reform governors in the Democratic Party. In 1986 and 1987, Clinton served as chairman of the National Governors Association, speaking on behalf of the nation's governors. Shrewdly charting a new course, Clinton helped guide the Democratic Leadership Council, a group of moderate Democrats and business people who worked to affect national policies. In 1990 and 1991, Governor Clinton led the council's drive to lure back the white male vote into party columns without alienating blacks and women. With the goal of strengthening and unifying the party, Clinton used his persuasive oratorical skills to argue that the Republicans were using the issue of race to gain political advantages, and that race should not divide Americans who agreed on economic and other social issues.

He insisted on pragmatism and moderation in government programs, a centrist platform that emphasized opportunity, jobs, law and order, and responsibility. This meant that the government should provide opportunities for all citizens when the free market failed, but individuals had to accept the responsibility to work and to contribute to the common civil order. This linking of the time-honored American enshrinement of work and individualism to a progressive view of the role of government became for Clinton a "New Covenant"—the philosophical perspective behind his reference to himself as a "New Democrat."

In 1988, however, Clinton damaged his chances for higher office. He was picked to give one of the nominating speeches for Michael Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention. He delivered a long, boring speech emphasizing policy and programs that many thought would doom his chances to run for President. A quickly arranged appearance on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson enabled Clinton to poke fun at his blunder and thus deftly rescue his image before a large national television audience.


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