William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton (1946- ) is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation. Clinton has been described as a New Democrat. Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist Third Way philosophy of governance.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Clinton became both a student leader and a skilled musician. He is an alumnus of Georgetown University where he was Phi Beta Kappa and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford. He is married to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has served as the United States Secretary of State during 2009-2013 and was the Senator from New York during 2001-2009. Both Clintons received law degrees from Yale Law School, where they met and began dating. As Governor of Arkansas, Clinton overhauled the state’s education system, and served as Chair of the National Governors Association.
Clinton was elected president in 1992, defeating incumbent president George H.W. Bush. As president, Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history. He signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement. He implemented Don’t ask, don’t tell, a controversial intermediate step to full gay military integration. After a failed health care reform attempt, Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, for the first time in forty years.
Two years later, the re-elected Clinton became the first member of the Democratic Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second full term as president. He successfully passed welfare reform and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health coverage for millions of children. Later, he was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in a scandal involving a White House intern, but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and served his complete term of office. The Congressional Budget Office reported a budget surplus between the years 1998 and 2000, the last three years of Clinton’s presidency.
Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II. Since then, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Based on his philanthropic worldview, Clinton created the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote and address international causes such as prevention of AIDS and global warming.
In 2004, he released his autobiography My Life, and was involved in his wife’s and then Barack Obama’s campaigns for president in 2008. In 2009, he was named United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti, and after the 2010 earthquake he teamed with George W. Bush to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Since leaving office, Clinton has been rated highly in public opinion polls of U.S. presidents.
Four days after the Oklahoma bombing, Bill Clinton delivered this speech on 23 April 1995 in Oklahoma City, at a memorial service for the 168 victims. He summarized the fatalities that resulted from the bombing and sympathized with the American people. President Clinton emphasized that together, the people could overcome this loss. He stated that “one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil”.
The speech is evaluated as
* No. 52 in 100 most significant American political speeches of the 20th century
* No. 19 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time
[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Oklahoma bombing memorial prayer service address
Thank you very much, Governor Keating and Mrs. Keating, Reverend Graham, to the families of those who have been lost and wounded, to the people of Oklahoma City, who have endured so much, and the people of this wonderful state, to all of you who are here as our fellow Americans.
I am honored to be here today to represent the American people. But I have to tell you that Hillary and I also come as parents, as husband and wife, as people who were your neighbors for some of the best years of our lives.
Today our nation joins with you in grief. We mourn with you. We share your hope against hope that some may still survive. We thank all those who have worked so heroically to save lives and to solve this crime — those here in Oklahoma and those who are all across this great land, and many who left their own lives to come here to work hand in hand with you. We pledge to do all we can to help you heal the injured, to rebuild this city, and to bring to justice those who did this evil.
This terrible sin took the lives of our American family, innocent children in that building, only because their parents were trying to be good parents as well as good workers; citizens in the building going about their daily business; and many there who served the rest of us — who worked to help the elderly and the disabled, who worked to support our farmers and our veterans, who worked to enforce our laws and to protect us. Let us say clearly, they served us well, and we are grateful.
But for so many of you they were also neighbors and friends. You saw them at church or the PTA meetings, at the civic clubs, at the ball park. You know them in ways that all the rest of America could not. And to all the members of the families here present who have suffered loss, though we share your grief, your pain is unimaginable, and we know that. We cannot undo it. That is God’s work.
Our words seem small beside the loss you have endured. But I found a few I wanted to share today. I’ve received a lot of letters in these last terrible days. One stood out because it came from a young widow and a mother of three whose own husband was murdered with over 200 other Americans when Pan Am 103 was shot down. Here is what that woman said I should say to you today:
The anger you feel is valid, but you must not allow yourselves to be consumed by it. The hurt you feel must not be allowed to turn into hate, but instead into the search for justice. The loss you feel must not paralyze your own lives. Instead, you must try to pay tribute to your loved ones by continuing to do all the things they left undone, thus ensuring they did not die in vain.
Wise words from one who also knows.
You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes.
If ever we needed evidence of that, I could only recall the words of Governor and Mrs. Keating: “If anybody thinks that Americans are mostly mean and selfish, they ought to come to Oklahoma. [applause] If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love and caring and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma.” [applause]
To all my fellow Americans beyond this hall, I say, one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil. They are forces that threaten our common peace, our freedom, our way of life. Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness: Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. Justice will prevail.
Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life. As St. Paul admonished us, let us “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Yesterday, Hillary and I had the privilege of speaking with some children of other federal employees – children like those who were lost here. And one little girl said something we will never forget. She said, “We should all plant a tree in memory of the children.” So this morning before we got on the plane to come here, at the White House, we planted that tree in honor of the children of Oklahoma. It was a dogwood with its wonderful spring flower and its deep, enduring roots. It embodies the lesson of the Psalms — that the life of a good person is like a tree whose leaf does not wither.
My fellow Americans, a tree takes a long time to grow, and wounds take a long time to heal. But we must begin. Those who are lost now belong to God. Some day we will be with them. But until that happens, their legacy must be our lives.
Thank you all, and God bless you.
Oklahoma Bombing Memorial Prayer Service Address – http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/wjcoklahomabombingspeech.htm
 The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society. Its mission is to “celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences”; and induct “the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities.” Each year, about one college senior in a hundred, nationwide, is invited to join Phi Beta Kappa.
 Proverbs 11:29 — “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.” (NKJV)
 Romans 12:21 — “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NIV)
 Psalms 1:3 — “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (NIV)