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Gennifer Flowers archival audio: I didn't think it would start this quickly I expect them to come looking into it and interview you and everything, but I think that if everyone is on record denying it, you got no problem. Hold on just a sec here people. At first, Clinton's response to the scandal was evasive.
She did call me, I never initiated any calls to her, and whenever she called me she basically wanted reassurance There was this growing sense and skepticism in the press that this guy was just a big phony. I mean, he was too slick. He was too smooth and he would lawyer answers to questions. I said, that's not true. Even if your name gets used in the absence of proof, nobody can prove you're guilty, don't worry about it, just tell the truth The press called him 'Slick Willie' -- and it stuck.
The general thinking was that he was dead. Politicians didn't survive this thing. As many began to abandon Clinton, one person rose strongly to his defense. Carol Willis, Political Advisor: Bill Clinton is a smart guy, a very smart guy.
But he will tell you that Hillary is much smarter than he is. She's much tougher than he is. She is more of a pragmatist. If Clinton is a dreamer, Hillary is Miss Reality. She raised him up, and said, 'look, get that pity out of your body, and all that defeatism out of your back. And let's deal with this issue. And let's move on to the next issue.
But it was Hillary who stole the show. You know, I'm not sitting here, some little woman, standing by my man like Tammy Wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him, and I honor what he's been through, and what we've been through together, and you know if that's not enough for people then heck, don't vote for him!
By praising him, defending him, attacking the press, she brought Clinton back from the dead. How do you think it went, Governor? You think you answered the questions? We did our best. We feel good about it. The American people are the judges now, we're going to let them judge. So you can see why he was so attached to her because she had the power to save him.
Clinton was fresh from a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University in England and already planning a career in politics. Robert Robert Reich, Labor Secretary: Bill loved to discuss issues.
He loved to be in the center of discussions. He, in a way, loved to perform. He wasn't a great student. He didn't care about being a student, he was not there for being a student. He was there to make connections. Hillary was so much more obviously intellectual.
Her power was so much more disciplined than his. She was a leader. She was a doer. Bill eyed Hillary for weeks before the two finally met during one of his rare visits to the library. He was totally blown away by how confident and challenging she was. Here he is this tall, gorgeously handsome hick with Elvis sideburns and high water pants. She's the one who crosses the room, holds out her hand and says 'if you're gonna keep staring at me and I'm gonna keep looking back at you we better get to know each other.
Bill Clinton who always had lots of girlfriends, looked at Hillary and said, 'I've never had a girlfriend like that. I can't believe that somebody is as smart and as virtuous as Hillary that she wants to be with me. Hillary graduated from Yale inand soon landed a coveted job in Washington with the House committee investigating the Watergate scandal. Bernard Nussbaum, White House Counsel: One night, she said she wanted to introduce me to somebody who's going to come up to visit her the next day, I think.
She says, 'His name is Bill Clinton. What law firm is he going to? He's thinking of running for office. What's he thinking of running for? In fact, Bernie, he's going to go past Congress. He's going to be a senator or a governor. He's going to be President of the United States. That Bill Clinton would make politics his life's work had never been in doubt to anyone who knew him. I think he was born with political ambition. And I think that he was using every step of his life as a classroom to build the foundation to where he ultimately wanted to go.
His mother Virginia Cassidy was a nurse, outgoing and vivacious; his father, Bill Blythe, a charming traveling salesman whom he would never know. When Virginia was six months pregnant, her husband's car flipped over on a rain-slicked highway. The accident killed him. I think that the notion of the fleeting nature of life was one of the currents of Bill Clinton's ambition from the very beginning.
He would intensely focus on how quickly life could go. And I think that much of his urgency comes from that sensibility. Four years after her husband's death, Virginia married a raffish Buick salesman named Roger Clinton. If Hope was a sleepy Baptist town, Hot Springs was the opposite: Virginia took to Hot Springs as if she'd been born to it.
She was exuberant in her living, she pushed the envelope a little bit in her dramatic make-up and hairstyles and jewelry. Outwardly, Clinton enjoyed a happy small town American childhood. But inside his gabled house on Park Avenue, he was leading a far more turbulent life. His parents' relationship had deteriorated into serial affairs, and screaming matches that reverberated through the thin walls. As Roger Clinton descended into alcoholism, he grew more and more violent, beating Virginia in front of Bill and young Roger, Jr.
My life was "full of uncertainty and anger," Clinton would recall, "and a dread of ever-looming violence. Most of his buddies had no clue. They saw Bill Clinton as a happy-go-lucky guy. They didn't see the turmoil that was raging within that family. As a child of an alcoholic, there's a part of your world that is so shaken, that's filled with so much pain, that you don't want to share it with anybody. If you wallow in it, then you're dealing with self-pity and you ruin yourself.
The only way you can really deal with it is to block it off.
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Bill Clinton became adept at keeping secrets, living, he remembered, 'an external life that takes its natural course and an internal life where the secrets are hidden. No one can live parallel lives with complete success. He decided to pretend it didn't exist.
To pretend that everything was all right. To go to church, you know, with his bible under his arm, and be sunny and energetic, and positive, and simply not accept it. With fierce enthusiasm, Clinton threw himself into his life outside his home.
Hot Springs High had never seen anything like him: National merit scholar semi-finalist, first chair in the Arkansas State Band, student government leader.
By his senior year, he held so many honors that the principal barred him from running for class president. Bill Clinton always found himself trying to redeem and rescue his family. Part of doing that is to sort of put yourself in the position of rescuing not just your family, but everybody, including yourself, by doing good. By the early s, Bill Clinton's generation had a new hero.
Kennedy's youth and charisma reached all the way to Arkansas and sparked the teenager's idealism with a call to public service. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. We loved living in a time when JFK was president. He was so young, he made public service seem accessible so if we had ever entertained thoughts of a life in public service he made it seem all the more possible.
InBill Clinton travelled to Washington as a delegate to Boys Nation, a program for aspiring future leaders. During a visit to the White House, he rushed to the front of the line to shake his idol's hand. It's a moment that is just emblazoned in your mind.
To have a President of the United States look you in the eye, take your hand, speak to you -- the world stops. Bill said to me, "We will never forget that, will we? We will never forget that. A decade later, after leaving Arkansas to study at Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale, Clinton returned home to begin his own long march to the White House.
Bill Clinton went back to Arkansas for politics, pure and simple.
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He knew the people there, and he was of that place. He could see his political future. And that he was destined for something much larger than Hot Springs or Arkansas. I know that I can make a big difference for our district and for our people if I can have the opportunity to serve them in Congress. Few gave Clinton a chance to compete.
Paul Fray, Campaign Manager: People are saying, 'Hey, he's smart, but why does this guy want to be a Congressman? He's too young, he hasn't been elected to anything, he doesn't know what he's really doing. It wasn't just his inexperience; many worried that in his time away, Clinton had lost touch with Arkansas and its values. There always has been with him a suspicion that this guy is not to be trusted.
This guy's too liberal for us. And he encountered that. But, initially in Arkansas he just totally overpowered it with his charm, with his political skill, with his ability to connect and relate. In this small state, politics is art and it's entertainment. And he was the best we had seen. There's a fellow here been talking some, about being our next Congressman, he's a new man Bill Clinton is his name For weeks on end, Clinton drove the back roads of northwest Arkansas sleeping on couches, waking up at dawn to catch the shift-change at nearby factories.
Bill Clinton's ready, he's fed up too. He's a lot like me, he's a lot like you. Bobby Roberts, Campaign Aide: He's got an extra battery. After about four or five days with him, I was ready to go home.
I had all the fun I could stand and he would just keep going. We might stop at a service station or a restaurant or whatever -- he would want to meet the cooks, he would go back in the kitchen and meet everybody back there. He would not leave a place, I think, where he had not met everyone.
Sometimes people say, "Won't this guy go home? But he won't leave! Bill Clinton wants to get things done, so we're going to send him to Washington. Make Bill a U. Congressman, got to get those food prices down.
You remember, and vote for that. She could have had lots of jobs in Washington instead she elects to go, not even to Little Rock, but Fayetteville, Arkansas? You know, her friends thought she was absolutely mad, 'he's just a country lawyer, what do you see in him? When Hillary arrived in Arkansas -- a Chicago-born feminist in the Deep South -- she felt unwelcomed by Bill's campaign staff.
She had big glasses and curly hair, she had a Midwestern accent. She just seemed different. There was just something about her that put people off. I said 'Look, you know, we got enough problems here as it is.
To make matters worse, Hillary had to deal with Bill's constant womanizing. I mean you got to understand at one time there was at least 25 women per day coming through there trying to find him, and I'd tell them he's out on the road, you know and they'd get out the door, but lord it was bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Marla Crider, Campaign Aide: He draws women in and they are literally mesmerized by this man. It was absolutely like fly to honey.
And he needed that. He needed that kind of adoration. I don't think there's any question that Hillary was hurt, whether it was me or anyone else. Despite Bill's infidelities, Hillary decided to stay in Arkansas and dedicate herself to their mutual goals. A common sense of commitment to social justice, of working on improving the lives of families, of being concerned about the disenfranchised. But ultimately all along, thinking about going to the top.
That there's no question that there's a sense of the possibilities being unlimited. The highest you can achieve, obviously, is to be president and first lady. On October 11, the couple wed in a simple ceremony in their living room. Most of the people I know who have been around the Clintons for a long time come to the conclusion that I've come to: The two of them are in love.
Walter Lippmann, the great columnist, said 'Love endures when the lovers love not just each other, but love many things together. They had a common love, which is for politics, for the game. With Hillary firmly behind him, there was no stopping Bill Clinton. Though he narrowly lost his Congressional bid, he had positioned himself as a rising star. The morning after he lost that Congressional race in he was out in the town square, shaking hands again.
Every Democratic figure in the state knew that he was the next big figure in Arkansas politics. Two years later, he was easily elected Attorney General. Two years after that, he ran for Governor, brimming with youthful confidence and ambition. I'm Bill Clinton and one of the reasons I want to be governor is to make sure that every child in this State has a chance to go to kindergarten. I believe that if you and I together can practice what we preach about government, I know that you and I together want to do what is right for our people In the late s, most of Arkansas was poor and undeveloped.
Bill Clinton was determined to turn that around. He did love his state. And he knew, growing up there, how many troubles it had. The saying in Arkansas was, 'Thank God for Mississippi. Not much had been done for years in Arkansas.
Spending on education, per capita income, our highway system was one of the worst in the country. So Bill Clinton comes in and he has all these ideas. He's gonna transform the state at once. Feeling, as he recalled, 'an urgent sense to do everything,' Clinton and his staff took on entrenched interests in Arkansas. He created new regulations, revamped rural health care, reorganized school districts, and took on utilities.
They were young and they were full of themselves, and they thought they could change the world. Well you know, and they could stop clear-cutting of timber, and clean up poultry practices and those sorts of things. And that was, that was perhaps a little overly optimistic. Most ambitious of all was a project to fix Arkansas roads.
It was paid for by a steep hike in taxes on car licenses and was a political disaster. That became extremely unpopular, and he realized that late in the election ofhe's go early in the morning to a factory gate and all these guys refused to shake his hand and they said "no you raised my truck tag and I'm not going to vote for you. After one term, Clinton ran for reelection against an obscure Republican businessman named Frank White, who pounded away at Clinton's youth and arrogance.
He tells you he can create jobs; he's never had a job! To Clinton's dismay, White's tactic worked. I regret that I will not have two more years to serve as Governor because I have loved it. I have probably loved it as much as any person who's ever held this office.
Since he was a teenager, Bill Clinton had prepared himself to be president. Now, just 34, with his new baby Chelsea to support, he feared his political career might already be over. He took it incredibly hard. He knew those folks and he thought they loved him and it turned out they didn't. He was totally out of sorts. And when you see him, he wants to talk about one thing.
What did I do wrong? We drive three blocks, but then we just park in front of there and we talk for 45 minutes, about what?
Hillary was as devastated by that defeat as Bill was, and as determined to make amends and figure out a way back. I mean, here she had devoted her life and given up a lot to go out to Arkansas for their rise together. And at this very early age, it seemed like it was all vulnerable. So she was not going to allow that to happen. Hlllary traded in her thick glasses for contact lenses and her unkempt hair for a fashionable blonde bob. To quiet some of her critics, she took her husband's last name.
And just to put it to rest, I will forever be known as Hillary Rodham Clinton. Frustrated by what she regarded as poor advice, she took over her husband's reelection campaign.
Hillary was the mastermind of that comeback. Most of his people advised him at the time, 'Don't run again, wait two years. Determined never to lose again, Clinton studied the results of his defeat precinct by precinct.
He resolved to win back every single one. I remember one day, we leave Fayetteville in a little plane and a storm is coming in. And he said, 'Fly fast,' cause we can see the cloud coming behind us. By the time we get 20 minutes away to the mountain town of Harrison, the pilot says, 'Can't put it down. The fog is too thick. I've got a chance to get some votes here.
I'm gonna die, and I'm gonna be the last paragraph of the obituary, after all about him. I'm going to sleep. And before the plane stops taxing, he opens the door and jumps out, cause he's already an hour late.
The crowd has waited, they're ready to celebrate. It's been a long two years. If victory is ours tonight I have been given something that few people get in life: Clinton had learned from his mistakes.
Rather than take on every problem in Arkansas in his second term, he narrowed his focus to a single issue that he knew would serve the people and his political future: I still believe that until we have a system which guarantees competence in basic learning skills we will never be able to prepare our people for higher level of achievements, I don't care what else we do. It's a winning issue. The people are willing to go that way. And it's something we can get done if we focus on that.
He has settled on the strategy. Now, who's the right person? Who's my point person? We know it's a huge task, but we're very optimistic that we're going to be able to make a substantial improvement in what our students receive. She went from town to town all over Arkansas, and met with civic groups and PTAs and school groups, and talked about what they wanted to do about improving schools in Arkansas.
By the time it was over, I think she was one of the most popular people in the state. One legislator popped up at a hearing one day and said 'We elected the wrong Clinton. It just resurrected him. He needed a success and it made him the education governor at a time when education was a vital issue in the country, and he was able to use that to open all kinds of doors for him.
Over the next few years, Clinton began to catch the attention of the media and national Democratic leaders desperate to find a candidate who could loosen Republicans' grip on the Presidency. He would spend a huge amount of time meeting with impressing and charming his fellow Governors and other elected officials, and after a day and a night with him talking about philosophy and politics, you came away with the impression this was the smartest guy in the class, and that essentially if you were going to have a President, it probably should be this guy.
Induring his fourth term as Arkansas governor, Bill Clinton was finally ready to leap onto the national stage with a long-shot run for the presidency. In July, he summoned the national media to Little Rock for the big announcement. Then, abruptly, he sent them home with hardly an explanation.
I need some family time, I need some personal time. Behind the scenes, an old weakness had come back to haunt him. Just the day before the press conference when he was going to announce that he was going to run, Betsey Wright, his ferociously protective campaign manager, sat him down with a list of names of women and went through one after the other: For each name he said, 'Oh, she'll never say anything.
You don't understand on a national scale, people will investigate -- your opponents will investigate it. The media will investigate it. And the problem is, we're not just talking about you. We're talking about your wife, Hillary; we're talking about your child, Chelsea.
I mean, it just became clear that night it was not the time for him to do it. It just was not the time. He felt for quite a while that, that probably was the last real chance he would ever have to run for president. That was it, it was over.
You know, where would he go now that he wasn't gonna run for president? What could he do in the future?
I think that over the next few months that became a tough time for them. With Hillary and Bill's mutual dream in tatters thanks to his extra-marital affairs, their relationship hit rock bottom. It did put into question their whole marriage. And it was very unnerving to Hillary because she had put everything on the line for him to pursue the presidency, and if he had too much of a record of reckless behavior to do that, than what had she been doing for the last 15 years? Just when it seemed things couldn't get worse, Clinton was asked to give the speech nominating Michael Dukakis at the Democratic convention.
I'm honored to be here tonight to nominate my friend Michael Dukakis for President of the United States. That piece was supposed to be the set piece to launch him on the national stage and it turned out to be something that almost killed his career before it got started. I'd like to talk a little about Mike Dukakis, the man The speech was going on and on and on. Mike's old fashioned, all right. He's the kind of man who plays it straight, who keeps his word.
The crowd was just getting restless. And we said, 'Oh, man, we dead. He is going by the script that the Dukakis folks has approved. And he has to carry it out. Now, I want you all to calm down so I can tell the rest of the country why they should want Mike. Of course, the famous thing is when he said "in conclusion Linda my wife and I are at our house and we're looking on in disbelief. Sometime in the wee hours Linda wakes me up, and she says 'Look, he's got to go on the Carson show to make this right.
My first question is, 'How are you? I watched the speech and as a performer, I kind of felt for you in a way. It just didn't work, I mean, I dunno, what can I tell you? I really, my sole goal was achieved, however. I wanted so badly to make Michael Dukakis look great and I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. In an instant, he had turned it around, because the next day papers were full of good things and had kind things to say about him and so it erased almost all of it in one day and made him more visible than he had ever been.
It's tenor sax you play? We're going to play a short song Betsey Wright, Chief of Staff: He recovers better than anybody I have ever known. I mean he can have horrible things crash down upon his head, but he crawls out from under it and keeps on going. Bill and Hillary Clinton were back on the map. Having faced a crossroads in their personal and political lives, they decided that whatever the costs, they would stay together and continue to pursue the goal they'd shared for 20 years: Four years later, in the snows of New Hampshire, Clinton held a comfortable lead in the Democratic primary.
With the Gennifer Flowers scandal behind him, he was campaigning with the confidence of a front-runner. An old letter had surfaced, written by Bill Clinton more than 20 years earlier when facing the possibility of being drafted to fight in Vietnam.
Eugene Holmes, for 'saving me from the draft. Holmes, Clinton's letter sounded to many like the confession of a draft dodger, and sparked a second round of attacks against his character. Governor, are you a draft dodger? Did you burn your draft card? No, I had a lock-cinch four-year deferment. I gave it up after less than two months because I didn't think it was right. I went back into the draft, then this lottery came along.
I got a high number and I wasn't called. Stan Greenberg, our pollster, came in and said, 'The bottom's fallen out. Of course I've had some problems in the polls. All I've been asked about in the press are a woman I didn't sleep with and a draft I didn't dodge I think a lot of us thought, you know, 'This is over. You know, he willed himself back into that race. I need your help! For the next week, Clinton campaigned 20 hours a day, pushing himself to the limits of his endurance.
I don't have another speech in me. I can barely talk. We have to reject the political philosophy that gripped this country in the s These were Yankees who had been really beaten down by the loss of manufacturing jobs in that part of the country, and they didn't seem to have other opportunities. I'll tell you something, I'm going to give you this election back, and if you'll give it to me I won't be like George Bush, I'll never forget who game me a second chance and I'll be there for you till the last dog dies.
I don't promise you a miracle, I promise you a movement. Lets take our country back, and see this country win again. Thank you very much! And God bless you! As many times as you fail, don't you deserve the chance to redeem yourself? Uh, isn't history loaded with people who have fallen and gotten up, and fallen and gotten up, and fallen and gotten up and done great things?
He paired with professional dancer Sharna Burgess. He cited fatigue and a busy schedule in a personal call to Joyner. However, Joyner, referring to several commentaries in which Smiley was critical of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obamaindicated otherwise on his program, stating: The stated aim of the tour was to highlight the plight of the impoverished population of the United States prior to the presidential electionwhose candidates Smiley and West stated had ignored the plight of the poor.
The book covers topics ranging from education to healthcare, and was a New York Times Bestseller. PBS issued a statement saying that it had hired a law firm to conduct an investigation "immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr.
Smiley" and that this investigation "uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS. It was also alleged that Smiley created an environment that was "verbally abusive and threatening.
He released a statement saying, "I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. Soon after the suspension, Smiley went on a country-wide tour to defend his innocence while also supporting the MeToo movement and denouncing workplace harassment.
Since its inception, more than 6, young people have participated in the foundation's Youth to Leaders Training workshops and conferences. InTavis Smiley donated and raised thousands of dollars for Texas Southern University ; the School of Communication was temporarily named after him. InSmiley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famehonoring his contributions to television.