Vital Statistics

Full Name: William Jefferson Clinton

Years in Office: 1993–2000 (42nd President)

Born: August 19, 1946

Birthplace: Hope, Arkansas

Party: Democrat

Vice President: Albert Gore, Jr.

First Lady: Hillary Rodham

Children: Chelsea

Nickname: Bubba

Fast Fact: The first president to have been a Rhodes Scholar.

The Early Years

Bill Clinton's father died in a car accident before he was born. When he was seven, his mother, Virginia, remarried. Her new husband, Roger Clinton, was a car dealer and an alcoholic who sometimes beat his wife. At fourteen, Bill confronted him. "Daddy, if you're not able to stand up, I'll help you," he said, "but you must stand up to hear what I have to say. Don't ever, ever, lay your hand on my mother again."

In 1963, Bill took an American Legion trip from Arkansas to Washington, where he met President Kennedy. From that moment on, he knew he wanted a career in politics. Fifteen years later, he was elected governor of Arkansas. At 32, he was the youngest governor in the country. After his first two-year term, Clinton was voted out of office for raising the state gasoline tax to pay for highway improvements. He accepted the defeat as a lesson in humility and regained the governorship in 1982.

Important Events During Presidency

Janet Reno confirmed by Senate as first female Attorney General.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed to Supreme Court; becomes second woman to sit on the nation's highest court.

Congress passed budget deficit reduction package.

Assisted in the Dayton Peace Accords, ending four years of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

Helped negotiate an Israel-Jordan peace treaty.

Signed the Welfare Reform Policy, helping families move from welfare to work.

News Flash From Past: Arrest Made in World Trade Center Bombing
New York, March 4, 1993

The FBI made the first arrest today in the World Trade Center bombing case. Agents captured Mohammed Salameh in Jersey City, New Jersey, when he attempted to collect his rental deposit on the van used in the bombing.

Salameh had told the rental company that the van was stolen. The FBI found Salameh by tracing the vehicle using an identification number found on a piece of twisted metal at the bomb site. Salameh is a member of a Jersey City mosque attended by radical Islamic fundamentalists.

Just last week, lower Manhattan was thrown into turmoil when a huge explosion rocked the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The February 26 blast, the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, was caused by a van loaded with explosives. The van had been parked in a public garage beneath the 110-story buildings.

Five people were killed by the explosion and at least one thousand injured. The bomb left a crater in the garage seven stories deep.


As the first "Baby Boomer" president, Bill Clinton was often influenced by values he adopted during the 1960s. For example, he picked his vice president, Albert Gore, in part because of Gore's concern for the environment. Yet Clinton proved in his inaugural address that he understood traditional values as well. "It is time to break the bad habit of expecting something for nothing," he said. In other words, change would require sacrifice.


For further information about President Bill Clinton, look in Compton's online encyclopedia (Keyword: Encyclopedia). Some of the information here courtesy: Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times (1994: Scholastic, Inc.).