William J. Clinton

42nd President of the United States (1993-2001)

Clinton, a natural-born politician with a combination of wonkish intellect and common-man charm, captured the White House from Bush. Although the former CIA director won the Persian Gulf War, he lost to Clinton because of the economic battle on the domestic front. The Clinton Campaign’s mantra: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” Besides bringing a brutal recession to a close, the centrist politician sought to reinvent the economy and use technology “to build a bridge to the 21st Century.” But the first 100 days would expose the energetic 46-year-old’s strengths and weaknesses. For instance, although he told the American people he would attend to the economy “like a laser beam,” he lost public confidence within his first few months in office when he clashed with the Pentagon over gays in the military and the forced withdrawal of two attorney general nominees. Other critics claimed he lacked focus in developing his legislative agenda. But living up to his nickname, the Comeback Kid would eventually put his administration back on track.

Highlights from his first 100 days:

– To combat the recession, he created a White House Economic Council to provide recommendations on stimulating the economy.
– He assigned Vice President Al Gore with the task of making the federal government more effective.
– He allowed federally-funded clinics that serve low-income patients to engage in abortion counseling, and also lifted the moratorium on the research of fetal tissue.
– He named First Lady Hillary Clinton head of his healthcare reform task force.
– Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, providing up to 12 weeks of leave for workers under certain situations.
– Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin hold meeting to discuss details of U.S. aid package to the financially-weakened republic.

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