The 42nd president of the United States whose second term in office was dominated by scandal.
William Jefferson Clinton was born on 19 August 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His father died before he was born and his mother remarried a man whose surname Clinton took. He studied international affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and then spent two years at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1970, Clinton returned to the US to take a scholarship at Yale University Law School. While at Yale he met and married fellow student Hillary Rodham.
In 1973, he began to teach law at the University of Arkansas Law School, then resigned to run unsuccesfully for Congress. In 1976, he won his first political post, running for Arkansas Attorney General. Two years later he won the state governorship, but failed to be re-elected in 1980. He ran again successfully in 1982 and served in the post for a decade. In 1992, he was selected as Democrat candidate for the presidency and won, defeating the incumbent president, George Bush, and the independent candidate Ross Perot. Clinton's first term was blighted when his party lost control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 1994 mid-term elections. He recovered, however, to comfortably win re-election in 1996 by defeating the Republican, Bob Dole, thus becoming the first Democrat to win re-election since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.
Clinton's second term was hugely overshadowed by his impeachment by the House of Representatives on charges of, among other things, obstruction of justice. This arose from Clinton's denial of an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. This led Kenneth Starr, who had already been appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate accusations of illegality in Clinton's financial dealings, to expand his inquiry into whether Clinton had perjured himself in the Lewinsky case. Clinton was tried for the impeachable offences in the Senate according to Constitutional law. He comfortably secured more than the one-third of the one hundred votes in the Senate needed for exoneration.
Although he managed to hold on to office, these events weakened Clinton's presidency. He left office in January 2001. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was elected to the Senate for New York in 2000.
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