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1996: 'Comeback Kid' wins second term

VIDEO : A second term victory for Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton is basking in a resounding victory over Republican Bob Dole and the prospect of four more years in the White House.

He is the first Democratic President in US history to be re-elected since Franklin D Roosevelt, taking 49.2% of the popular vote to Mr Dole's 40.8%.

With voter turnout at its lowest in nearly 70 years at just over 49%, Democrats took 379 electoral votes and 31 states and the District of Columbia, including former Republican strongholds of Florida and Arizona.

Republicans got 159 electoral votes and just 19 states while billionaire Ross Perot, standing as an independent. took no states at all.

Republican control

But it was not all good news for the Democrats as Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress which they won during the congressional elections two years ago.

They increased their hold on the Senate by one seat where they now have a 54-45 lead.

Republican Party Chairman Haley Barbour said the re-election of President Clinton was, in fact, a victory for his rivals.

"On taxes and on a balanced budget and on crime, Bill Clinton sounded like a Republican. This election was a validation of the Republican Congress," he said.

However, the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who led a highly unpopular Republican "revolution" that blocked the budget last year, was conciliatory today saying his party had a duty to "reach out" to the president.

President Clinton has once again earned his nickname of the "Comeback Kid", undeterred by the recent Whitewater real estate scandal still under investigation.

In a speech to 40,000 supporters at his home town of Little Rock alongside his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea, the former governor of Arkansas said the voters "are sending us a message - work together, meet our challenges, put aside the politics of division and build America's community together".

He added: "It's time to put country ahead of party."

In Context
Bill Clinton's presidency ended in 2001.

His most enduring legacy is likely to be the economic boom which began shortly before he took office in 1992.

During the eight years of the presidency, the economy expanded by 50% in real terms, and by the end of his tenure the US had a gross national product of $10,000bn - one quarter of the entire world economic output.

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.

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

In September 2000, the Clintons were cleared of wrongdoing in the Whitewater land deal, a failed Arkansas property venture that involved Hillary and Bill Clinton when he was governor of the state in the 1980s and Mrs Clinton was a partner in a local law firm.


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