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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 12:26 GMT
How will Clinton be judged?
Bill Clinton stepped down as President of the United States on Saturday.
He has handed over a stable and flourishing economy to George W Bush, with the largest budget surplus in history and the lowest unemployment rate in more than 40 years. But will the good outweigh the bad?
Will history be kind to Clinton? Will he be seen as one of the great political survivors? How did he affect the region where you live?
James Rubin, former Assistant Secretary of State and a member of the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1996, took your questions live on Talking Point ON AIR, the phone-in programme of the BBC World Service and BBC News Online.
Select a link below to watch or listen to Talking Point On Air
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Regardless of what anybody says about his shortcomings, and he had a few, William Jefferson Clinton was the best American President in decades.
It's ironic that Clinton should be followed by a President who so perfectly exemplifies the worst the American system can produce - someone who owes his political career (and personal wealth) to his family name and connections and, what's worse, only got into office through manipulations of our undemocratic, arcane and outdated 18th century federalist system in what amounted to a palace coup. As much as I didn't like many things about Clinton, I already miss him.
President Clinton will be remembered as a fine President. He left the country in fine order and I'll bet it doesn't stay that way. It was the people of his country who focussed on his private life who let America down - such hypocrisy and what a farce. Stand up all Americans who are perfect.
Clinton will go down in history as a president who extended American influence across the world using both muscle and morality. There are some instances of immoral conduct in foreign affairs on his part, such as Iraq, but they were part of Bush Senior's legacy. As for Clinton's personal conduct in office, he should have been careful since he was holding the country's highest public office. However, the way a section of the US media and politics exploited the issue, was utterly disgusting. I strongly fear that Bush Jnr. might harp on the same path of arrogance as pursued by his father, resulting in the loss of whatever was achieved with respect to American interests in the world during the Clinton presidency.
Amir Jaffer, San Jose, USA
OK so he made mistakes, so he told a few fibs, so he had an indiscretion on the side. I have yet to meet or hear of the perfect person, and we are all guilty of at least some of those faults. Bill Clinton was good, at last we had an intelligent human being to sit in the Oval Office. Now we are faced with another puppet called Dubya. What a pity!!
Ludicrously self-obsessed, he summarises his eight years in office by calling it "one hell of a ride." He never did anything except what Republicans told him to do. What did he do for poor people? What did he do about education? What was his foreign policy agenda? A media invention and cause celebre, Bill Clinton is a sad, pathetic excuse for a President.
You're right -- you did "demystify" the Presidency -- and brought it down to a level at which you could be successful.
Bill will fondly be remembered here in Africa and particularly for being the first American President to identify with African problems. Mr. Clinton we already miss you
Lisa Morrissey-Finnigan, New York
In four years Clinton will be remembered as one of the more intelligent men who preceded one of the least intelligent.
I believe Clinton will be remembered as the most misunderstood and controversial President to hold the office. He did as much bad as he did good. I personally will remember him as the President who really knew how to use a cigar.
Clinton will be remembered as football fans remember George Best, first as a failed person but also as one of the most talented in his field. He managed to work wonders on the US economy and worked tirelessly for world peace, but first we will remember Lewinsksy, Jones, Flowers, etc.
Jeremy Craig, Athens, Georgia, USA
Ten years from now the words "Clinton economy" will be associated with prosperous times, and "Bush economy" will be associated with troubled and confused times.
What makes the United States a great (greatest) country in the world is not its presidents but its people. The Clintons were failures but the country thrived. What does that tell you?
Clinton's administration never understood how harmful its strategy against the drug war is for our country: 1.3 billion dollars for escalating
military support and the fumigation of small drug plots, instead of funding for social investment. US military support is not good enough to win the war but it is bad enough to keep it alive.
LK Weber, St. Augustine, FL, USA
A few scandals involving personal relations should not be the yardstick to measure the greatness of Mr Clinton who has done great things for America and the whole world.
I think History will drop him
from the list of real leaders.
Possibly listing his name
occasionally on the net as a
past president of USA associated
with scandals. Amr Gohar (Dr)
Syed Abdul Qader, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
History I hope can be kind to this man. He was successful in trying to bring peace and democracy to the globe, in Northern Ireland and Israel. For the next four years I feel that this trend of getting involved in world politics will be lost, under President George.W Bush. So therefore it is our duty to give Clinton the honour he deserves. After all nobody is perfect.
Maybe the American politicians in general have finally learned that sex and politics are always mixed and that so long as sex does not curry political favours nobody should have asked that question about his private sex life in the first place. Especially as it transpired so many of his political accusers have similar skeletons in their closets that were aired publicly by people angered at their hypocrisy
Frank Warren Ho, Republic of Taiwan
Law Chiang Khiang Singapore
Clinton has done remarkably well for his country and the world in general. It is just
natural that persons and countries that his good
actions did not favour will be quick to condemn him.
As an African from Nigeria, I believe he showed the
best and most plausibly care to our continent far
beyond what most of our leaders will do. It will be
better to admit that our inability to govern ourselves has greed as the only thing to blame and not
Clinton. The worst thing to happen to us is being
I think it would be better to remember Clinton as the man who led America out of the uncertainties at the end of the Cold War and into hyperpower status, and as the statesman who meant well, but wasn't as successful as he would like to be.
It would do America no good to remember his affair with Lewinsky - that bit of history should perhaps be confined to academia.
While Nixon and Mr Kissinger tilted US policy in favour of the military dictatorship of Gen Yahya Khan (Mr Bush has already said that the new military dictatorship of Gen Musharaff in Pakistan is good), at least Mr Clinton recognised the mutual economic benefits arising from cordial relationship with democratic India .
I'd just like to say that to me President Clinton seems to have been one of
the best in recent times. He did very well for himself and the best that anyone has done for the US in a while. Abroad, he helped Australia indirectly by improving the US economy, However, he never put the world before America (which is understandable) he was an ardent supporter of
free trade yet when the Australian lamb industry threatened that of the US
he did not hesitate to apply protection.
I think when years have passed and his personal faults forgotten he will be remembered as a outstanding politician not just of the U.S but the world. He was the first US President in a great many years who didn't put America at the centre of the universe and realised that there was a world outside it's borders.
Kumar S, Tokyo, Japan
Bill Clinton inherited a strong nation with a growing economy, a bull market in stocks and few serious threats from overseas. Over the past eight years, he has undone all that.
Contrary to the almost Orwellian belief that Presidents control the economy, it is an inarguable objective fact that Presidents have no economic control whatsoever. All taxation and spending are controlled by congress. All monetary policy is controlled by the Federal reserve.
Bill Clinton has introduced new standards into American politics. It suddenly it turned out that weaknesses can become strengths - many Americans seemed to have sympathised with his evading to be conscripted and his marijuana smoking. I believe his further actions nicely correlated with his baseline image - he both faltered and succeeded thus being even more human.
For all his faults, history will judge Clinton not so much on what he has achieved but on what his successor chooses to change. I await with interest to see what Clinton does next, though no greater accolade could be that of 'peacemaker'
Dan Boden, Davis, CA USA
Boy, it's amazing how much anger Clinton's private life generated on these pages! It's equally amazing how Americans seem to have conveniently forgotton about the private affairs of many other presidents ... and listing them would seem to me to be as pointless as reciting Clinton's!
Victor Aluri Vijayawada, India
His affair with Monica Lewinsky and the fact that he had committed adultery could have brought
in bad reputation to the Oval Office, however his image for being charismatic, profound, diplomatic and an architect for the biggest economic boom in the US history would not only outweigh the bad reputation but also would redefine the American Presidency and set standards for all his
Suzanne McMillan, Matsuyama, Japan
I think Clinton will be forgotten in history. He produced no major redirection of the economy nor fought any major war. The nation is to divided with regards to his personal achievements to allow public buildings to be named after him.
The Bill remembered of the 1990's will be the Robber Baron Bill Gates - Clinton will be another foot note in discussions on the process of impeachment. President Reagan will always carry much more importance for turning around the economy and defeating the USSR in the Cold War.
A great leader. The economic boom may have its foundations in the Bush and Reagan era, but the important thing is he maintained the momentum and the US, and with the global economy, achieved unprecedented economic performance. Yes, he will have a small taint in his history with the scandal, but that is no big deal. It will be a long time before the world sees another leader with the Charisma, the leadership skills, the human qualities and the political qualities of William Jefferson Clinton.
The Clinton administration had no energy policy, no foreign policy, no integrity, no morals and gave away nuclear and missile guidance secrets in exchanged for political donations from the government of China. I hope we never see another president of this ilk again.
Marilyn, Houston, USA
As an African-American I am proud of President Clinton. Unlike Bush Clinton understood the Civil Rights movement. He was real. I know that he has a hard time telling the truth. Yet like many of us we love him and we did not even understand our love for Clinton.
I dare anybody to do a better job than Clinton. You winge and moan about all the things he did wrong, I can only imagine what state the USA would be in if the halfwits who are criticising him were in power. What am I saying, they are in power now!!.
While I largely lean to the right side of the political spectrum on most issues, loathe many of Clinton's guiding principle such as positive discrimination and refusing to curtail the influence of bloodsucking lawyers - I liked the man. How can one not be impressed when facing such intelligence and charisma?
President Clinton may have balanced a budget and cut unemployment, but telling lies under oath and plea bargaining his way out of this travesty sends a clear message to the youth of the United States of America.
If you reach the top of the group you represent, then to cheat is allowable and acceptable.
Common sense and decency aside. this undermines the freedoms and promises of the Constitution he swore to maintain and to the now tattered Flag to which he pledged allegiance to.
Laura Beevors, UK
Clinton will be remembered for turning around a staggering economy, reducing the deficit by nearly $600 billion, and drastically reducing unemployment. Although, impeachment will continue hound him, it will also be remembered that the Republicans went way too far and did not listen to the American people, who didn't want Clinton impeached.
He tried to settle Northern Ireland, Israel, and tried to rid the US of the gun, at least in part. He even tried to introduce the US to the first part of a health system for those who are not super rich.
He also gave the American public some amusement in the White House. I hope Mr Bush follows in his footsteps.
Hasanat Khan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Clinton failed to make a significant change in the US policy towards the Palestinians, however, his plan of peace and his latest letter to the Palestinians, in which he says "Never before have you been as close to achieve your goals, regaining your land, building a prosperous future for your children", will make him unforgettable in comparison with his predecessors.
Clinton, is one of the successful politicians in modern history. Forget about Monica, he is a man of vision, dedication and determination.
Saima Ahsan, Pakistan
I think that Bill Clinton did not deserve to be kicked off as president just because of a mistake which every human being makes!! If he was given a chance then he would have put things straight apologised to America and given it another go!!
Undoubtedly the most charismatic and a profound American communicator over the last 4 decades. The former president George Bush deserves most credit for the unmatched economic growth and lowest unemployment rate. The Lewinsky affair will be remembered as a symbol of an unsurpassed pragmatism of a great nation and a childish unforgettable mistake of a human being.
Christopher Laird, Tokyo, Japan
That man will be remembered as a liar and a man who bombed a sovereign country - Serbia. History will never forgive him that crime.
Jonathan Wood, Perth, Western Australia
Clinton will be remembered as a liar (Lewinsky affair) a
war-monger (Serbia), a child murderer (Iraq, over
1m children as a result of sanctions)
a promoter of division and inequity (Israel-Palestine),
and a supporter of state terrorism (Colombia).
I could go on (racism, the prison industry, welfare cuts,
increased poverty), but you get the gist.
He will be remembered for being the egocentric draft dodger, dope smoker, nihilist he is, who could not find integrity in a dictionary. Ditto for Princess Hillary!
He supported the leftist Museveni of Uganda and Kagami of Rwanda to create a Tutsi empire in Central Africa has then turned the area into a perpetual conflict and a tragedy engulfing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a divider he supported only one faction for the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) and ignored efforts to reconcile the factions. I am convinced that Clinton's policy in the Sudan conflict has in fact complicated any efforts to the conflict resolution for peace and justice in Sudan. I hope that the Bush administration shall address the necessity of South Sudanese unity to be able together articulate the issue of self determination with one voice.
History will judge this arguably most charismatic American leader after JFK as an indeed great president. To have steered the American economy out of recession as handed over to him by Mr Bush was a big plus for his presidency. I believe strongly that in a few years, his critics will in retrospect relish the Clinton years. His successor George W is only an empty-head and to this day, non-Americans cannot comprehend the premise on which millions of Americans handed the presidency to him. As humans, we all have our moral weaknesses and to blow Mr Clinton's out of proportion was unacceptable. History and posterity will sooner that later be our judge.
Kanat Emiroglu, London, UK (Turkish)
As a matter of fact President Clinton did a good job for his people but surely not for the ones who were in Mid East and especially in Iran. He did not offer a stable position against Iran. And this case would destroy his foreign diplomacy while history starts writing about him.
I think that history should remember the political accomplishments of Clinton well. Eight years of stability, prosperity and hope. The
unfortunate personal incident with Monica only came to light after an expensive right-wing witch hunt that was out to find anything to try to take down the president. And I am afraid of what is coming. Bush will no doubt take a page from
the Reagan playbook: corporate welfare, tax breaks for the rich,
unnecessary increases in defense spending, rising unemployment and crime rates. Then during the recession a war or two to distract the public from his mismanagement. Consider, during the Clinton
administration we heard little of Saddam. Already the Republican
propagandists are filling the (US) airwaves with 'how dangerous Saddam is' and how 'something must be done'.
He should be remembered for his goofy grin and high sexual temperature, but he'll probably be remembered for his economic good fortune; economic with the truth that is!
President Bill Clinton (during a speech given in India on 21st March 2000):
Ishwar Raj Pandeya, Nepal
We have a free position for him here in Israel - prime minister - he'd win the election here if he only wanted this "job".
Monica? that really doesn't mean a damn thing.
Bill Clinton will be remembered as the president who supported the most highly indebted poor countries, especially African countries, by reducing their debts. He also should be remembered for his contribution in the peace process in different countries all over the world, for example in the Middle East or African Countries such as Burundi, where the meeting for signing Burundi Peace Process agreements were held in Arusha, Tanzania. He is the only US President who visited Tanzania.
Richard West, Birmingham, UK
He is a great and compassionate man, because he really cared - all who care can see that. His great lesson to the world will be about honesty - when you do something thoughtless, it's not what you do that matters, it's whether you're honest about it. It's a great lesson, for when we are true to ourselves and to each other, the world will move on in giant strides. Most of us know we can forgive an honest man or woman almost anything.
A flawed presidency - but with the good far outweighing the bad. The warts were significant - the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia being the worst; but overall, Clinton persisted in his peace initiatives and presided over an extraordinarily strong economy. Clinton the person will be judged by his personal circle, say his family and friends.
Clinton should be judged as a very intelligent, globally minded leader. He brought some ethnic minorities to the American political mainstream. Clintons administration engendered Pax Americana and economic growth. He made peace in some of the world's conflict flash points.
I, like many, expected too much of one person. His inauguration night in Jan 1993 gave me joy I haven't felt in terms of US American potential since the 1st Lunar Landing or before that, the Kennedy years '61-'63. It does no good to ponder the "what ifs (he had/hadn't done such and such)." With all this Republican Party talk of "compassionate conservatism", it's overlooked that this is one of our best "Republican" presidents we've had. He had to move more to the right because the alternative was so nerve-wrecking. Like now.
Jim Cunningham, Wheeling, USA
Bill Clinton will be remembered as the president who did the most to support highly indebted poor countries especially African countries by reducing debts to these countries. He should also be remembered for his contribution in the Peace process in different countries all over the world, example Middle East Countries and other African countries such as Burundi. He is the only President of the US who visited Tanzania.
Clinton - the name that caused most people I know in the USA to hang their heads in shame. Hopefully Bush will now stop the USA meddling in the affairs of other countries, reduce taxes, and rekindle within the USA a pride in itself.
Good riddance! He was all talk and no do except when someone held a political gun to his head. He saved his best work for passing off to others the heat he brought on himself.
Bill Clinton was a brilliant president with boundless energy. He is to be replaced by a man who has never heard of the Taliban, whose family's old retainers will tell him what to do and say. How will Clinton be remembered? With regret that he can't continue longer in the White House.
Chuck deNicolo, New Haven, CT, USA
Godfrey Kisela, United Kingdom
Being an outsider to the US, it is amazing to see how Americans treat their and their leaders' lives differently. Just because a person had an affair he was "crucified". How many Americans can deny some dark parts in their past?
Bill Clinton in the long term will be remembered as a president who took the US on a great economic boom and tried to integrate the US into the world, tried to make peace, tried to solve many ethnic problems, like Ireland, Mid-East, tried to ease the relationship with North Korea. I have serious doubts about G.W. Bush. He does not seem to know anything other than hunting and his Texas ranch.
Bill Clinton will be remembered as the President who finished office
with the highest popularity rating in American history. Only one other
President came close. That was Ronald Reagan. Nobody thought that would
happen when he took office. Nobody thought that during the impeachment. But, this president was a man who millions of Americans liked. As for his presidency, he travelled more miles, went to more places, and worked harder for peace than any of his predecessors. He guided America away from the terrible deficit that was
said to be impossible to overcome, he kept America out of getting embroiled in a land war in the Balkans.
And, he presided over America during the finest 'economical times' in decades.
Bill Cole, Greensboro, NC, USA
I am reminded of the story of the great Athenian lawmaker Solon's advice to the Emperor of the Medes: A man's life cannot be judged until he has well and truly finished it.
An example of this can be found in none other than the person of another ex-President, Jimmy Carter. While Carter is rarely if ever considered by anyone to have been a 'good' president, he has matured into one of Americas most respected and admired statesmen. He will be remembered fondly as a 'good guy', and a 'peace-maker'.
It seems interesting to me that all of the 'great' presidents that other Americans have mentioned are war-hawks. Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, FDR, Kennedy/Johnson, etc. have little in common other than wars. Perhaps this is Clintons greatest error: that while he was responsible for more military actions and civilian deaths than Reagan (hard to believe, but true) he never got us into a war. What a sad and ironic comment on the politics of Americas presidents?! A 'good' war is worth a dozen examples of 'bad' peace.
I believe President Clinton is the best president this country has seen in a long time. I believe the mistakes he made are between him and Mrs. Clinton and the people of our country should remember him for all the good things he did. After having George Bush as our president for 4 years everyone will see just how could they had it under the Clinton administration.
Iran-Contra was a crime, Watergate was a crime but since when is oral sex a crime? It doesn't matter what Clinton did with Lewinsky but what he did for his country.
Zhivadin, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Having someone who has such unbridled passion for peace and prosperity as president, will forever be a huge inspiration. Clinton may be leaving the White House on Sunday, but his legacy will forever live among the people of the United States and the world.
Clinton is a very shrewd, conceited man with no moral values. He brought disgrace to the office of the Presidency of the United States of America. Moral decadence is Bill Clinton's biggest legacy.
As far back as history has been recorded, in government offices around the world scandals have happened and sometimes recorded. Unfortunately Mr. Clinton was a victim of the press regarding his personal life.
I don't judge the man for that, I judge him as a man who took on the presidency of the United States and did the very best he could. I too will miss him greatly after Saturday! I am in fear for what the incoming president will do for our country, its environment and for world peace.
Clinton will be remembered as the President who did not inhale, did not have sex with that woman and, despite actively campaigning for it, did not win the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Clinton will be remembered as the only elected President to be impeached. The only President to go to the citizens of the United States for contributions to his legal defense fund. The President who was found in contempt of court. The President who faces disbarment. The President who is a punch line to many a tawdry joke. The President who decried, and was the foremost practitioner of "The Politics of Personal Destruction". The President who called American citizens selfish for wanting to keep more of their own hard earned money, while the government was running a surplus.
Hany Rengier, Cologne, Germany
The reason that President Clinton's sexual peccadilloes seem to take top billing in the USA has something to do with the fact that England had the good sense, in the early 17th century, to send extreme Protestants (Puritans) packing.
Unfortunately for us, they moved to the USA, bringing with them their sententious, overbearing religious beliefs.
Their views on how a Christian society should live are alive and well today. If you don't believe me, just look at some of the responses on this subject that come from US citizens.
President William Jefferson Clinton will go down in history as one of the greatest politicians the world has ever seen. Yet more than this he re-invoked idealism in a cynical, superficial world. With echoes of his hero JFK he made politics resonate with the youth once more. Attempts to secure health care reform at home and peace abroad were noble ventures.
President Clinton was impeached. Yet, for what? Lying under oath about a meaningless sexual encounter. The whole Monica affair typified the reactionary right wing forces that are so prevalent in modern day America. They replace hope with cynicism and embody the power for power's sake approach to politics. President Bush's first great act will be to attempt a massive tax cut. How will this help the huge number of disadvantaged US citizens who long for decent health care and a better way of life? Not to mention the right to have their vote counted.
Evan Reineking, Houston, USA
Clinton will be remembered far more admirably than his successor, unless I'm very much mistaken.
Ken Muir, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
From a foreign perspective, the major event of the Clinton presidency has been the fruition of globalisation. The effects have in country after country proved disastrous. I believe Clinton would have liked to have done more to reconcile globalisation with the needs of billions of the world's poorest inhabitants, but he fluffed it. The rich countries led by America will continue to increase their obscene levels of consumption and those in the third world will pay for it with misery and death. He might have been a brainy and charismatic president but not brainy or charismatic enough to focus the developed world's attention on vital global issues - everyone was far too interested in his bedroom antics.
After George Dubaya Bush everyone will realise how good Bill Clinton was as president. So what if he had an affair with Lewinsky? Did that affect anyone else? Is that of any relevance to how he ran the country and how he was the best president that the USA has had for a very long time.
Eva Bellinger, Sun Prairie Wisconsin USA
I will start with the last part of the question, how Mr. Clinton's presidency affected my region. Not only did it affect my region, but my very home town. Mr. Clinton - apparently to divert attention from his Monica Lewinsky affair - ordered the bombardment of Khartoum, Sudan - to destroy an allegedly chemical weapons producing facility! He was, however, subsequently proven to be wrong by American as well as European
experts. His administration then had to face an international embarrassment. What he did to the American people and the American economy is up to them to judge, but to the rest of the world he was just another American president, for American foreign policy remains the same.
To a lot of Americans Bill Clinton will be remembered as the president who killed children in Waco, sold nuclear secrets to China, sent Elian back to Cuba, received oral sex in the oval office (and not from his wife), let Saddam rebuild his nuclear weapons, and the one who could not reconcile the Koreas, the Northern Irish/British, or the Palestinians/Jews. Probably the most un-American president in history.
Clinton has been the best President since FDR. I feel that it is unfair that he should have to go. If he had stood in November's presidential election he would have easily beat 'Dubya'. The two term limit must be scrapped.
Julieta, Chile (living US)
I miss President Clinton already. Although I strongly disagree with his lying under oath, I believe history will and should view him as one of our great presidents. It would have been nice if he had been able to accomplish more, but he was hampered by a far right wing Congress, the same far right which is now going to try and destroy the environment, destabilize international relations and erode civil rights. I wish President Clinton could stay in office for another 4 years.
In spite of many personal mistakes, he has been a far reaching president.
Bill Clinton was the greatest president in my lifetime. I'm very nervous to have another Bush in the White House because the last one did a lot of favors for the Bible thumpers.
In a few years from now, people will refer to him as the greatest president the US ever had.
I believe there is a danger now, following the Monica Lewinsky affair, for public figures to be forced to have seemingly perfect private lives - does this make them either good statesmen or representatives of the people? I think Clinton will be judged favourably, once all the irrelevant allegations about his private life settle - the US economy has performed well under his administration and he has made great strides towards peace abroad nowhere more than in Northern Ireland. As to the criticism of him as a "draft-dodger", is a President that is pro-war such a good idea? Let's remember that US intervention in Vietnam cost the lives of thousands of Vietnamese civilians and achieved virtually nothing. I'll miss you Bill.
Hopefully he will be remembered as the President who tried to make his country a better place but was prevented by the seriously selfish, small-minded, right-wing that was the Republican Congress. Proper healthcare, less guns, universal auto insurance, accessible banking system, etc. We are constantly reminded that the US is only a democracy for those that can afford it. Tell me again how much it costs to run for even the lowliest office in the country?
In four years time when Dubya has ruined the economy and restarted the Cold War, Clinton will be remembered as a great president, and the Democrats will sweep back to power in a landslide.
For Republicans - the party of Watergate and Iran Contra - to accuse Clinton of being immoral is a bit of a joke. Those scandals were of public significance whereas Clinton's were just personal indiscretions.
Carol Cannon, USA
Conservatives disliked Clinton for the same reason some parents in 1950's hated Elvis.
Clinton has a zest for life, was not born into the privileged class and most threatening of all he is talented and competent.
Currently historians rank Clinton right in the middle. In time he will move up and rank among the near-greats.
My only feeling on Bill Clinton's imminent departure from the White House is one of sadness. The USA is going to be deprived of a truly great leader and the world is going to lose the influence of a man prepared to stand up and fight for what is right. He made his mistakes, but hey, don't we all.
History will doubtless judge Mr Clinton as one of the most profoundly self-absorbed and undisciplined men ever to occupy the White House. A man of great intellect, doubtless charm and energy who whilst enjoying great popularity never translated this into ANY meaningful legislation on Social Security or Medicare reform. Nothing. Just what has he accomplished other than to demean the presidency with his lies and deceit?
George Washington was remembered for not being able to tell a lie. Nixon was remembered for not being able to tell the truth. And Clinton will be remembered for not knowing the difference.
Clinton has been a breath of fresh air, lets hope that his talent is not lost to the world stage, and that some role can be found for him in the UN.
There is not a significant laudable accomplishment in the last eight years that was initiated by Clinton. His will be remembered as a wasted presidency. Of course he will also be remembered as the first president to be guilty of perjury, fined by a judge for obstructing justice. Unexplainably he will also be remembered as being a hero to the left wing media in Europe and their undiscerning readers and viewers.
He will be remembered for making the US economy the best it has been for eight years; for reducing the debt and unemployment. The US will probably never see the prosperity we had ever again, certainly not with Bush as president. As for his scandals, well, Americans have short memories for that type of thing and in the long run, he will be remembered as a good man and president.
History will remember Clinton as a great President for the kind of stability he brought to the world.
He may have been involved in scandals, but people have a tendency to forget it the moment a new scandal breaks open.
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