Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton
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Bill (William Jefferson) Clinton

U.S. President

Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe the 3rd in Hope, Arkansas in 1946. A graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School, and a Rhodes scholar, he was a lawyer and (1974-76) law professor. In 1974 he was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress from Arkansas.

In 1976 he was elected Arkansas attorney general, and in 1978 he won the Arkansas governorship, becoming the nation's youngest governor, but he failed to win reelection in 1980. He ran again in 1982 and won and was reelected twice (1986, 1990). A moderate Democrat, he headed (1990-91) the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

In 1992 he won the Democratic presidential nomination, and he and running mate Al Gore defeated President George Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot in the presidential election. He won (1993) passage of a national service program and of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit. He also proposed changes in the U.S. health care system that ultimately would provide health insurance coverage to most Americans but was unable to win passage of his plan. In 1994 he sent U.S. forces to Haiti as part of the negotiated restoration of Aristide's presidency.

He is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and has one daughter, Chelsea Clinton.