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1992: Clinton beats Bush to the White House

Democrat Bill Clinton has won the presidential election to become the 42nd United States president and the first in US history born after World War II.

He beats 68-year-old Republican President George Bush.

Aged 46, the Governor of Arkansas will be the third youngest president in US history after John Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt.

There was an unusually high turnout - always good news for Democrats - with an estimated 100 million Americans voting. The president-elect got 43% of the vote to Mr Bush's 38% with Independent Ross Perot trailing behind with 19%.


" If you will be my voice today, I will speak for you for four years "

Governor Clinton

The Democrats conducted a highly effective campaign pushing aside allegations of Clinton's extra-marital affair with singer Gennifer Flowers and accusations of draft dodging during the Vietnam war.

Instead they promised to lift America out of an economic quagmire, a message that has obviously won favour.

Early results showed the Republicans were on their way out when their usual strongholds of Vermont and New Hampshire fell to their rivals. Democrats then began slicing into southern states like Georgia.

Mr Perot has not won a single state despite spending an estimated $60m of his own money on his campaign.

Clinton and his running mate Al Gore spent the last few weeks of the campaign on a whistle-stop bus tour of America.

At dawn today they were at a rally in Denver, Mr Clinton's voice hoarse from speech-making. "I have just about lost my voice," he said. "If you will be my voice today, I will speak for you for four years."

He began the campaign more than a year ago with little hope of winning against President Bush whose popularity was high on the back of the Gulf War victory.

But since then the economy has taken a serious turn for the worse and with it President Bush's standing in the eyes of US citizens.

In his victory speech at Little Rock, Arkansas, Mr Clinton thanked his wife, Hillary, who stood by him during the Flowers sex scandal.

He said the American people had voted for a "new beginning" and promised to tackle issues such as Aids, the environment and "the conversion of our economy from a defence to a domestic economic giant".

He also paid tribute to President Bush for helping to bring an end to the Cold War and a victory in the Gulf War.

It was an historic day for Congress too - the first black woman, Democrat Carol Moseley Braun, was elected to the Senate.

In Context
Bill Clinton won 370 electoral votes to George Bush's 168.

Among his successes as president were the Oslo accord between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, the Dayton peace accord signed in former Yugoslavia in 1995, and the Northern Ireland ceasefire.

At home he carried through major welfare reforms.

But his first term was tainted by the Whitewater real estate scandal that questioned the Clintons' involvement in an Arkansas land deal dating back to 1978. They were only cleared of wrongdoing in 2000.

Thanks to a booming economy, President Clinton comfortably won a second term against his Republican challenger, Bob Dole in 1996.

His second term was dogged by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal which he first vehemently denied and then admitted in a televised speech to the Grand Jury .

After Kenneth Starr's report into Bill Clinton was published in September 1998, the House Judiciary Committee decided to impeach him and he became only the second president in American history to face such an indictment, but he refused to resign.

His trial ended on 12 February 1999 when senators voted to acquit him of the impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

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