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From draft-dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. In Clinton, the latest installment in the critically acclaimed series of presidential biographies, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE explores the fascinating story of an American president who rose from a broken childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history—and one of the most complex and conflicted characters to ever stride across the public stage. Featuring unprecedented access to scores of Clinton insiders, including White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, and Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, as well as interviews with foreign leaders, members of the Republican opposition, childhood friends, staffers from Clinton’s years as governor of Arkansas, biographers, and journalists, Clinton explores how the man’s conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confounded his friends.
|1||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe Comeback Kid||From the political backwaters of Arkansas, Bill Clinton emerges as a political force unlike any seen on the national stage in a generation. Overcoming a troubled upbringing marred by alcoholism and violence, Clinton is determined from the start to succeed, first in Arkansas, then at Georgetown, Oxford and finally Yale. There he meets a young woman named Hillary Rodham who shares his intellect and idealism. Together they forge a marriage and political partnership that takes them to the Arkansas governor’s mansion and ultimately the White House. Hour 1 follows their bumpy road to the 1992 presidential victory, an amazing triumph over repeated scandals and setbacks. Although they have won the presidency, the Clintons have not yet won the country. In their moment of triumph, the first couple has no way of imaging the turmoil that lies ahead.||52:07||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|2||HDClosed CaptioningVideoBlood Sport||Despite all of their education and experience, the Clintons are unprepared for politics in Washington, which quickly descends into open warfare with the Republican establishment and much of the media. Hour 2 chronicles the tumultuous first two years of the Clinton presidency, years that see the beginning of the Whitewater scandal, the shocking death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and the humiliating defeat of Hillary’s healthcare bill. Although the administration has its domestic successes, troubles brewing in the remote countries of Somalia and Rwanda and the arrival of a new and formidable rival named Newt Gingrich threaten to derail the Clinton presidency before it ever gets off the ground. When Republicans gain control of Congress in the midterm elections, the entire political landscape shifts to the right, leaving Clinton seemingly bereft of power.||52:07||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|3||HDClosed CaptioningVideoA Real President||Shattered by the Republican victory, Clinton begins to sideline his most trusted advisors in favor of an aggressive political consultant named Dick Morris who uses extensive polling to diagnose the administration’s weaknesses and develop strategies to correct them. The Republican “Contract with America” is riding high and by spring 1995, Gingrich and his allies select the ground on which to wage their war: a plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit by drastically cutting Medicare and Medicaid. The plan leads to a government shutdown and slowly the tide begins to turn toward the President, who reclaims the political center with a stream of new initiatives that will curb big government and appeal to middle class families. Clinton wins the 1996 election in a landslide, pulling off one of the greatest turnarounds in political history. But events have been set in motion that will soon divide the country and nearly destroy Clinton's presidency.||52:06||$2.99||View in iTunes|
|4||HDClosed CaptioningVideoThe Survivor||The final hour begins as Clinton sails buoyantly into his second term. Times are good, the economy is booming, and American prestige and power internationally are at an all-time high. Clinton’s dream of repairing the breach with Republicans seems within reach. But Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky —a White House intern — becomes public after she confides in a co-worker named Linda Tripp. The ensuing scandal gives independent counsel Kenneth Starr the ammunition he needs to re-charge his stalled investigation of the Whitewater affair. Congress initiates impeachment hearings, but the Republican leadership fails to remove Clinton from office. And when Starr’s damning report is finally released, the ire of the American public is focused more on the independent counsel than the President. Though the President survives the ordeal, confounding both his enemies and friends, he loses some of his drive and ambition during his final two years in office.||52:06||$2.99||View in iTunes|
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He showed that greatness is achievable but not perfection.
Clinton's greatest achievement was actually creating such a success that the world loved America and wanted to be a part of everything American, bringing prosperity and peace, his major error in judgement was Monica,
His successor created a universe where America is bankrupt and many in the world would like to see it destroyed, his major error in judgement was two failed wars and a broken United States!
When clinton lied, feelings were hurt, when Bush lied millions died.
Thanks PBS for reminding us of better leaders and ether times.
Good president bad man.
Good president but not a good man and I can mostly live with that. Because in his case he did more for the middle class and relations abroad than his successor. I have several bones to pick about clinton but he was a good if not great president.
From an ultra right winger
Welfare reform, Balanced Budgets and the era of Big Government is over. Obama could learn a thing or two from this guy. God Bless Bill Clinton.
- HD Version
- Genre: Nonfiction
- Released: Feb 20, 2012
- © 2012 WGBH Educational Foundation
- CCin English