Bill Clinton

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That depends on what your definition of 'us' is.
Yesterday is yesterday. If we try to recapture it, we will only lose tomorrow.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III ; 19 August 1946) is an American politician and the 42nd president of the United States of America, and the husband of Hillary Rodham Clinton.


There is no title I will wear more proudly than that of citizen.
The loss of trust is paralyzing.
I don't care how precise your bombs and your weapons are, when you set them off, innocent people will die.
Great rewards will come to those who can live together, learn together, work together, forge new ties that bind together.
Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal.
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth.
We want to live forever, and we're getting there.
We've gotten to where we've nearly "them"ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us.


  • I feel your pain.
    • Response to AIDS activist Bob Rafsky at the Laura Belle nightclub in Manhattan (March 27, 1992)
  • Every year Congress and the president sign laws that make us do more things and gives us less money to do it with. I see people in my state, middle-class peopletheir taxes have gone up in Washington and their services have gone down while the wealthy have gotten tax cuts. I have seen what's happened in this last four years when — in my state, when people lose their jobs there's a good chance I'll know them by their names. When a factory closes, I know the people who ran it. When the businesses go bankrupt, I know them. And I've been out here for 13 months meeting in meetings just like this ever since October, with people like you all over America, people that have lost their jobs, lost their livelihood, lost their health insurance.
What I want you to understand is the national debt is not the only cause of that. It is because America has not invested in its people. It is because we have not grown. It is because we’ve had 12 years of trickle-down economics. We’ve gone from first to twelfth in the world in wages. We’ve had four years where we’ve produced no private-sector jobs. Most people are working harder for less money than they were making 10 years ago. It is because we are in the grip of a failed economic theory. And this decision you’re about to make better be about what kind of economic theory you want, not just people saying I’m going to go fix it but what are we going to do? I think we have to do is invest in American jobs, American education, control American health care costs and bring the American people together again.
  • In an answer to a question at a 1992 Town Hall presidential Debate
  • End welfare as we know it.
    • Statement during 1992 US presidential campaign [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two -- and didn't like it -- and didn't inhale and never tried inhaling again.
    • Television interview (March 1992), quoted in the New York Times (31 March 1992) realone audio file
  • Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.
  • Posterity is the world to come; the world for whom we hold our ideals, from whom we have borrowed our planet, and to whom we bear sacred responsibility. We must do what America does best: offer more opportunity to all and demand responsibility from all.
  • You know, we can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles -- it's something I strongly support -- we can't be so fixated on that that we are unable to think about the reality of life that millions of Americans face on streets that are unsafe, under conditions that no other nation—no other nations—has permitted to exist. And at some point, I still hope that the leadership of the National Rifle Association will go back to doing what it did when I was a boy and which made me want to be a lifetime member because they put out valuable information about hunting and marksmanship and safe use of guns. But just to know of the conditions we face today in a lot of our cities and other places in this country and the enormous threat to public safety is amazing.
  • Let me tell you something -- wait a minute. You know one things that's wrong with this country? Everybody gets a chance to have their fair say. My budget did more to fight AIDS than any in history, and we're having to put up with this. (Applause.) Tell them to let me talk. (Applause.) If you want to give a speech -- go out there and raise your own crowd. We'll be glad to listen to you. (Applause.) So there were those -- (interruption) -- I'll make you a deal. I'll ignore them if you will. (Applause.)
  • When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly. That is, when we set up this country, abuse of people by Government was a big problem. So if you read the Constitution, it's rooted in the desire to limit the ability of — Government's ability to mess with you, because that was a huge problem. It can still be a huge problem. But it assumed that people would basically be raised in coherent families, in coherent communities, and they would work for the common good, as well as for the individual welfare.
  • All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That's why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.
  • I say this to the militias and all others who believe that the greatest threat to freedom comes from the Government instead of from those who would take away our freedom: If you say violence is an acceptable way to make change, you are wrong. If you say that Government is in a conspiracy to take your freedom away, you are just plain wrong. If you treat law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for your safety every day like some kind of enemy army to be suspected, derided, and if they should enforce the law against you, to be shot, you are wrong. If you appropriate our sacred symbols for paranoid purposes and compare yourselves to colonial militias who fought for the democracy you now rail against, you are wrong. How dare you suggest that we in the freest nation on Earth live in tyranny! How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes!
    • Remarks at the Michigan State University Commencement Ceremony in East Lansing, Michigan (May 5, 1995), quoted in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton, Book 1—January 1 to June 30, 1995 (1996), pp. 644–645
  • The last time I checked, the Constitution said, 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' That's what the Declaration of Independence says.
    • From a campaign speech given in California. Quoted in Investor's Business Daily October 25, 1996
  • Our rich texture of racial, religious and political diversity will be a Godsend in the 21st century. Great rewards will come to those who can live together, learn together, work together, forge new ties that bind together.
  • Next, we must help parents protect their children from the gravest health threat that they face -- an epidemic of teen smoking, spread by multimillion dollar marketing campaigns. I challenge Congress -- let's pass bipartisan, comprehensive legislation that will improve public health, protect our tobacco farmers and change the way tobacco companies do business forever. Let's do what it takes to bring teen smoking down. Let's raise the price of cigarettes by up to $1.50 a pack over the next 10 years with penalties on the tobacco industry if it keeps marketing to our children.
  • No one wants to get this matter behind us more than I do—except maybe all the rest of the American people.
  • It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the—if he—if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement. ... Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.
    • Grand jury testimony (August 17, 1998), answering questions about his attorney's description of an affidavit by Monica Lewinsky
  • Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible. But I told the grand jury today and I say to you now that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence or to take any other unlawful action.
  • All of you know I'm having to become quite an expert in this business of asking for forgiveness. And I ----. It gets a little easier the more you do it. And if you have a family, an Administration, a Congress and a whole country to ask, you're going to get a lot of practice. But I have to tell that in these last days it has come home to me again, something I first learned as President, but it wasn't burned in my bones -- and that is that in order to get it, you have to be willing to give it. And all of us -- the anger, the resentment, the bitterness, the desire for recrimination against people you believe have wronged you -- they harden the heart and deaden the spirit and lead to self-inflicted wounds. And so it is important that we are able to forgive those we believe have wronged us, even as we ask for forgiveness from people we have wronged. And I heard that first -- first -- in the Civil Rights Movement. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
    • On August 28, 1998 at Union Chapel in Oak Bluff, Massachusetts, speaking on the 35th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Published in the August 29, 1998 edition of The New York Times. [5]
  • Whether our ancestors came here on the Mayflower, on slave ships, whether they came to Ellis Island or LAX in Los Angeles, whether they came yesterday or walked this land a thousand years ago our great challenge for the 21st century is to find a way to be One America. We can meet all the other challenges if we can go forward as One America.
  • A hundred years from tonight, another American president will stand in this place and report on the State of the Union. He—or she—(applause)—he or she will look back on a 21st century shaped in so many ways by the decisions we make here and now. So let it be said of us then that we were thinking not only of our time, but of their time; that we reached as high as our ideals; that we put aside our divisions and found a new hour of healing and hopefulness; that we joined together to serve and strengthen the land we love.
    • State of the Union Address (January 19, 1999)
  • Secretary-General Annan spoke for all of us ... when he said that ethnic cleansers and mass murderers can find no refuge in the United Nations, no source of comfort or justification in its charter. We must do more to make these words real. Of course, we must approach this challenge with some considerable degree of humility. It is easy to say, "Never again," but much harder to make it so. Promising too much can be as cruel as caring too little. But difficulties, dangers, and costs are not an argument for doing nothing. When we are faced with deliberate, organized campaigns to murder whole peoples or expel them from their land, the care of victims is important but not enough. We should work to end the violence.
    • Remarks to the 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (September 21, 1999)
  • We want to live forever, and we're getting there.

A Place Called Hope (16 July 1992)

  • It is time to heal America. And so we must say to every American: Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other. All of us, we need each other. We don't have a person to waste. And yet for too long politicians have told the most of us that are doing all right that what's really wrong with America is the rest of us. Them. Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor. Them, the homeless. Them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays. We've gotten to where we've nearly "them"ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all.
  • My grandfather just had a grade-school education. But in that country store he taught me more about equality in the eyes of the Lord than all my professors at Georgetown; more about the intrinsic worth of every individual than all the philosophers at Oxford; and he taught me more about the need for equal justice than all the jurists at Yale Law School.
  • I end tonight where it all began for me: I still believe in a place called Hope.


Shakespeare wrote, Einstein thought, Atatürk built.
  • You know, if I were a single man, I might ask that mummy out. That's a good-looking mummy.
    • Looking at "Juanita," a newly discovered Incan mummy on display at the National Geographic museum
  • Yesterday is yesterday. If we try to recapture it, we will only lose tomorrow.
    • President Clinton's speech at the 200th anniversary of the University of North Carolina.
    • This quote was later used as a sample by electronic duo Cosmic Gate in their track "Tomorrow"
  • History has shown us, that you can't allow the mass extermination of people, and just sit by and watch it happen.
    • On the Bosnian war Time
  • Because Israel believes, when it comes right down to it America is the only big country that cares whether they live or die. That's why I can say, give up the West Bank, because the Israelis knew that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan river, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die, and I would.
    • At a benefit dinner hosted by the Canadian Jewish Congress in Toronto, Ontario, 2002 CNN Transcript
  • You should have disagreements with your leaders and your colleagues, but if it becomes immediately a question of questioning people's motives, and if immediately you decide that somebody who sees a whole new situation differently than you must be a bad person and somehow twisted inside, we are not going to get very far in forming a more perfect union.
  • And I think America, if we're ever going to truly defeat terror without changing the character of our own country or compromising the future of our children, has got to not only say, "Okay, I want to shoulder my responsibilities, I want to create my share of opportunities" but we have to find a way to define the future in terms of a humanity that goes beyond our country, that goes beyond any particular race, that goes beyond any particular religion.
    • Statement (May 21, 2004)
  • People like you always help the far-right, because you like to hurt people, and you like to talk about how bad people are and all their personal failings.
    • On the emphasis in the news media on the Starr investigation and the Lewinsky affair (June 22, 2004) Panorama interview
  • You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. I don't believe he went in there for oil. We didn't go in there for imperialist or financial reasons. We went in there because he bought the Wolfowitz-Cheney analysis that the Iraqis would be better off, we could shake up the authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East, and our leverage to make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis would be increased.
    • Interview with Time, June 2004
  • Strength and wisdom are not opposing values.
    • In support of John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention, Boston, MA, July 26, 2004
  • What are the needs of the world? What can I do that won't be done if I don't do it?
    • ABC Primetime Live interview during opening of his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., November 2004
  • What we have to do now is not to forget these people and places when all the cameras are not there. I think that's the most important message I can say to the American people right now.
  • We need a steady stream of cash. The American people have been uncommonly generous.
  • Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has urged newspaper editors to focus more attention on the depletion of the world's oil reserves. In a June 17 speech to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention in Little Rock, Arkansas, Clinton said a "significant number of petroleum geologists" have warned that the world could be nearing the peak in oil production. Clinton suggested that at current consumption rates (now more than 30 billion barrels per year, according to the International Energy Agency), the world could be out of "recoverable oil" in 35 to 50 years, elevating the risk of "And then finally, and I think most important of all, more important than the deficit, more important then healthcare, more important than anything, is we have got to do something about our energy strategy because if we permit the climate to continue to warm at an unsustainable rate, and if we keep on doing what we're doing 'til we're out of oil and we haven't made the transition, then it's inconceivable to me that our children and grandchildren will be able to maintain the American way of life and that the world won't be much fuller of resource-based wars of all kinds.”
  • [Asked if he thought he did enough to get Bin Laden] "No, because I didn't get him. But at least I tried. That's the difference [between] me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried."
  • So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted. So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. ... And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could.
  • The problem with ideology is, if you've got an ideology, you've already got your mind made up. You know all the answers and that makes evidence irrelevant and arguments a waste of time. You tend to govern by assertion and attacks.
    • At an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, October 18, 2006[citation needed]
  • I learned a lot from the stories my uncle, aunts, and grandparents told me: that no one is perfect but most people are good; that people can't be judged only by their worst or weakest moments; that harsh judgements make hypocrites of us all; that a lot of life is just showing up and hanging on; that laughter is often the best, and sometimes only response to pain.
    • My Life (2004), page 15
  • Private citizens have more power to do public good and solve common problems than ever before in human history.
    • Made that statement during a conference in Ottawa, Canada, in March 2006. He concluded that a trend of international goodwill has been developing since the 2004 tsunami and said, with a hint of optimism, that the world is now at “a time of unprecedented interdependence.”
    • Source:
  • I have met all the most gifted people in our generation and you're the best.
  • I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.
    • March 20, 2008 [8]
  • If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office. If a football player doesn't want to get tackled or want the risk of an a occasional clip he shouldn't put the pads on.
    • March 26, 2008 [9]
  • The world has always been more impressed by the power of our [America's] example than by the example of our power.
    • At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, August 27, 2008. [10]

Farewell address (18 January 2001)

Farewell address (January 18, 2001)
  • In the years ahead, I will never hold a position higher or a covenant more sacred than that of President of the United States. But there is no title I will wear more proudly than that of citizen.


  • Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don't get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom.

    Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.

  • An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It's a different Israel. 16 percent of Israelis speak Russian. They've just got there, it's their country, they've made a commitment to the future there," Clinton said. "They can't imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it.
    • Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, September 21, 2010.[11]
  • [Plant-based diet] changed my whole metabolism, and I lost 24 pounds, and I got back basically what I weighed in high school. But I did it for a different reason. I mean, I wanted to lose a little weight. But I never dreamed this would happen. I did it because, after I had this stent put in, I realized that, even though it happens quite often after you have bypass, you lose the veins, because they're thinner and weaker than arteries. The truth is that it clogged up, which means that the cholesterol was still causing buildup in my vein that was part of my bypass. And thank God I can take the stents. I don't want it to happen again. So I did all this research. And I saw that 82 percent of the people since 1986 who have gone on a plant-based, no dairy, no meat ... 82 percent of the people who have done that have begun to heal themselves. Their arterial blockage cleans up. The calcium deposit in their heart breaks up.
  • There's never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan.
    • The Economist, December 18, 2010, p. 74
  • I am grateful that they have worked together to make it safer and stronger to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I'm grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed. And the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have a -- have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest.
  • I want to leave my daughter, and my grandchildren I hope to have and all these young people, a better world. And I think the reason you should do things for other people at bottom is selfish. There is no real difference between selfish and selfless if you understand how the world works. We all tied together. [...] Everytime you cut off somebody else's opportunity you shrink your own horizon.
  • [After struggle with heart disease] I've stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all. I've lost more than 20 pounds so far, aiming for about 30 before Chelsea's wedding. And I have so much more energy now! I feel great. ... I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn't want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather. So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival. ... The main thing that was hard for me actually ... was giving up yogurt and hard cheese. I love that stuff, but it really made a big difference when I did it. ... [To truly change the conditions that lead to bad habits and poor health] we have to demand it by changing the way we live. You have to make a conscious decision to change for your own well-being, and that of your family and your country.
Speech at the Democratic National Convention (transcript), The Times (July 26, 2016)
  • Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens.
  • She never made fun of people with disabilities; she tried to empower them based on their abilities.
  • I know most of the young Democrats our age who want to go into politics, they mean well and they speak well, but none of them is as good as you are at actually doing things to make positive changes in people's lives.
  • She loved her teaching and she got frustrated when one of her students said, well, what do you expect, I'm just from Arkansas. She said, don't tell me that, you're as smart as anybody, you've just got to believe in yourself and work hard and set high goals. She believed that anybody could make it.
  • I married my best friend. I was still in awe after more than four years of being around her at how smart and strong and loving and caring she was. And I really hoped that her choosing me and rejecting my advice to pursue her own career was a decision she would never regret.
  • If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people's lives are better, you know it's hard and some people think it's boring. Speeches like this are fun. Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She's been around a long time, she sure has, and she's sure been worth every single year she's put into making people's lives better.
  • If you were sitting where I'm sitting and you heard what I have heard at every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every lone walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.
  • Piece by piece, pushing that rock up the hill.
  • Nobody who has seriously dealt with the men and women in today's military believes they are a disaster. They are a national treasure of all races, all religions, all walks of life.
  • If you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade a real change-maker represents a real threat. So your only option is to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative, then run against the cartoon. Cartoons are two- dimensional, they're easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard. And a lot of people even think it's boring.
  • Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face. And she is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known. You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month and somehow, some way she will have made it better. That is just who she is.
  • There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges. But we won't get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election. That's why you should elect her. And you should elect her because she'll never quit when the going gets tough. She'll never quit on you.
  • If you love this country, you're working hard, you're paying taxes and you're obeying the law and you'd like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back. If you're a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you. If you're a young African American disillusioned and afraid, we saw in Dallas how great our police officers can be, help us build a future where nobody is afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.
  • Hillary will make us stronger together. You know it because she's spent a lifetime doing it.


Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country.


  • Webb, if I put you over at Justice I want you to find the answers to two questions for me. One, who killed JFK? And two, are there UFOs?
    • To Webster Hubbell during his interview for Attorney General, 1992, according to Hubbell's book Friends in High Places (1997) [12]
  • Someone should tell him that part of the art of politics is smiling when you feel like you're swallowing a turd.


  • A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.

Quotes about Clinton


(alpabetical by author)

  • The rage murder is new. It appeared under Reagan, during his cultural economic revolution, and it expanded in his aftermath. Reaganomics has ruled America ever since. For all of the Right's hysterical attacks on Clinton as a left-winger, the fact is that it was Clinton who administered a lethal injection to the welfare system with his Orwellian-named Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Under Clinton, Wall Street floruished with greater deregulation, globalization accelerated as never before, downsizings soared, and the anti-union, pro-shareholder corporate culture that Reagan launched went from being a radical experiment to a way of life. By the time George W. Bush took office, the cultural-economic transformation had become so deeply entrenched that what once would have been considered extreme and unacceptable was cheered and praised, even by those who suffered. The change was radical and traumatic, so much so that historians may look back at this time and wonder why there weren't more murders and rebellions, just as it is shocking today to consider how few slave rebellions there were.
    • Mark Ames, Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond (2005), p. 87
  • Did NATO have problems? Of course. Not for nothing was Henry Kissinger's famous 1965 work entitled The Troubled Partnership: A Reappraisal of the Atlantic Alliance. The list of NATO's deficiencies was long, including, after the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse, the feckless abandonment by several European members of their responsibility to provide for their own self-defense. Under President Clinton, America suffered its own military declines, as he and others saw the collapse of Communism as "the end of history," slashing defense budgets to spend on politically beneficial domestic welfare programs. This "peace dividend" illusion never ended in much of Europe, but it ended in America with the September 11 mass murders in New York and Washington by Islamicist terrorists. NATO's future has been intensely debated among national-security experts for decades, with many urging a broader post-Cold War agenda. Barack Obama criticized NATO members for being "free riders," not spending adequately on their own defense budgets, but, typically, he had simply graced the world with his views, doing nothing to see them carried out.
    • John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (2020), p. 133-134
  • He spoke about the party’s most popular policies while also taking every opportunity to show that he was not, and would not be, beholden to the interests of Black Americans. Invited to speak at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition conference, Clinton concluded his remarks with a now-notorious denunciation of the rapper and activist Sister Souljah, an attack by proxy on Jackson, who had brought Souljah to the event. Jackson, a two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, was a stand-in for the Black activist class, and Clinton’s audience got the message...In addition to that incident, there was Clinton’s infamous choice to fly to Arkansas, where he still served as governor, to preside at the execution of a mentally impaired Black inmate, Ricky Ray Rector, in a macabre demonstration of his “tough on crime” bona fides...there is no such thing as idle presidential rhetoric. Having committed himself in word as a candidate to the interests of the white mainstream against Black activists and civil right leaders, Clinton would do the same in deed as president, slashing welfare and funneling billions to prisons and law enforcement as part of a “war on crime.”
  • I think we need people with stronger ideals than John Kerry or Bill Clinton. I think we need people with more courage and vision. It's a shame we have had people who are so damn weak.
  • Before there were any suicide bombers, it was also reported by the same sources that Saddam Hussein was giving $10,000 to the families of anyone who was killed by Israeli atrocities, and there were plenty of them... in the first few days of the intifada, the Israeli army fired a million bullets. One of the high military officers said 'that means one bullet for every child'. Within the first month of the intifada, they killed about 70 people. Using U.S. helicopters, and in fact Clinton shipped new helicopters to Israel as soon as they started using them against civilians. That's just the first month... Well, is that supporting terror? It seems to me, sending helicopters to Israel when they're using them to attack apartment complexes, that's supporting terror.
  • The Environmental Justice Movement reached what may have been its apogee of transforming national policy on February 11, 1994, when President Bill Clinton signed the Executive Order on Environmental Justice, making environmental justice the policy of the federal government. This Order, among other things, directs each federal agency to "identify and address" the "disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects" of its programs, policies, and activities on people of color and on low-income communities. The Executive Order was a concrete realization of the Movement's goals of influencing decision makers; many Movement leaders were invited to the Oval Office to watch the signing ceremony. The Executive Order was the result of dozens of local environmental justice struggles.
    • Luke Cole and Sheila Foster From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (2000) p 161
  • It's not that Andrew Jackson had a "dark side," as his apologists rationalize and which all human beings have, but rather that Jackson was the Dark Knight in the formation of the United States as a colonialist, imperialist democracy, a dynamic formation that continues to constitute the core of US patriotism. The most revered presidents-Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, both Roosevelts, Truman, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Obama-have each advanced populist imperialism while gradually increasing inclusion of other groups beyond the core of descendants of old settlers into the ruling mythology. All the presidents after Jackson march in his footsteps. Consciously or not, they refer back to him on what is acceptable, how to reconcile democracy and genocide and characterize it as freedom for the people.
  • I think Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we've had in a while.
  • Bill Clinton and his two treasury secretary enablers, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, instituted a system of unregulated capitalism that has resulted in financial anarchy. This anarchic form of capitalism, where everything, including human beings and the natural world, is a commodity to exploit until exhaustion or collapse, is justified by identity politics. It is sold as “enlightened liberalism” as opposed to the old pro-union class politics that saw the Democrats heed the voices of the working class. Financial anarchy and short-term plunder have destroyed long-term financial and political stability. It has also pushed the human species, along with most other species, closer and closer towards extinction.
  • "A f---inng rapist, a war criminal, and a pathological liar."
  • It came back to haunt Hillary Clinton in Miami with Haitians not voting for her, so people have long memories. But Clinton's welfare reform, or what we call welfare deform, had such an impact, particularly on single Black mothers. The carceral state was reinforced and made much more brutal through the three-strikes laws, through the mandatory minimum sentences which were upped, through his horrific behavior around rushing back to Arkansas during his election to go and put somebody who was mentally disabled to death. He really set in place the apparatus that we are still trying to dismantle today.
  • Much has been written about what happened in Littleton in the wake of the tragedy. As humans go into shock after an assault on their bodies, so do communities. As President Clinton said on the night of the massacre, "If it could happen in a place like Littleton..." This wasn't the drug-riddled inner city, or some supposedly godless corridor like New York or Los Angeles. People who lived in Littleton were upstanding citizens with nice suburban houses and happy, healthy, well-fed children. We expected our schools would be safe.
    • Susan Klebold, A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (2017), p. 245
  • You want me to fix up lyrics, while our president gets his dick sucked?
  • When Clinton was running for re-election in 1996, he supported a fat package of anti-immigrant legislation. It passed, followed that same year by so-called welfare reform legislation, whose victims include millions of migrant workers-a more accurate term than "immigrant"...Along with the specifically anti-immigrant laws, Clinton combined immigrants and welfare recipients in one big package for super-convenient scapegoating. His so-called welfare reform bill ended 60 years of federal responsibility for helping the nation's poor.
  • The current, exclusively Black-white framework for racism prevails throughout U.S. society, even when it is obviously inappropriate. Everywhere we can find major discussions of race and race relations that totally ignore people of color other than African Americans. President Bill Clinton led the way in the first stages of his "dialogue on race" during 1997, with a commission that included no Native Americans, Asian Americans or Latinos.
  • Bill Clinton understands even better than anyone sitting here the race thing and Western Christian civilization. He genuinely believes Hillary should be nominated because he didn't believe America was ready to elect a black.
  • Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs. White skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime.
  • I remember when I graduated from eighth grade, I received a presidential certificate of excellence signed by Bill Clinton. It didn't matter how many other kids got the same piece of paper; Aabe and I basked in the pride that the president had affirmed my hard work. Politics aside, the highest office in the land carries great weight.
  • The mitigating steps we took were too slow and too small. Countries did come together to sign the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The aim of the treaty was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2000. However, the agreement was toothless because its emissions reduction obligations were unenforceable. The participation of the US was important and a cause for hope, given that it had thus far contributed the most to global carbon dioxide emissions. The US Congress ratified the agreement and Bill Clinton's election to the presidency that same year seemed to bode well for climate action. But when the new president tried to implement an energy tax as a first mandatory measure to restrain emissions, he encountered strong opposition in Congress and withdrew his proposal. Taxes are the 'third rail' of US politics and, to this day, carbon taxes face a difficult path to adoption.
  • Right from the start, when the Bill Cosby [sexual assaults] scandal surfaced, I knew it was not going to bode well for Hillary's campaign, because young women today have a much lower threshold for tolerance of these matters. The horrible truth is that the feminist establishment in the U.S., led by Gloria Steinem, did in fact apply a double standard to Bill Clinton's behavior because he was a Democrat. The Democratic president and administration supported abortion rights, and therefore it didn't matter what his personal behavior was.
    But we're living in a different time right now, and young women have absolutely no memory of Bill Clinton. It's like ancient history for them; there's no reservoir of accumulated good will. And the actual facts of the matter are that Bill Clinton was a serial abuser of working-class women–he had exploited that power differential even in Arkansas. And then in the case of Monica Lewinsky–I mean, the failure on the part of Gloria Steinem and company to protect her was an absolute disgrace in feminist history! What bigger power differential could there be than between the president of the United States and this poor innocent girl? Not only an intern but clearly a girl who had a kind of pleading, open look to her–somebody who was looking for a father figure.
  • For most Africans, Gaddafi is a generous man, a humanist, known for his unselfish support for the struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. If he had been an egotist, he wouldn’t have risked the wrath of the West to help the ANC both militarily and financially in the fight against apartheid. This was why Mandela, soon after his release from 27 years in jail, decided to break the UN embargo and travel to Libya on 23 October 1997. Mandela didn’t mince his words when the former US president Bill Clinton said the visit was an ‘unwelcome’ one – ‘No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do’. He added – ‘Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi, they are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.
  • I could not accept such an award from President Clinton or this White House because the very meaning of art, as I understand it, is incompatible with the cynical politics of this administration.
  • The political price for passing the ban included the loss of Congress to the Republicans in 1994, endangering Clinton's agenda, and creating the partisan conditions on Capitol Hill that produced his own impeachment. Even Clinton himself, looking back on the assault weapon ban in his memoir, My Life, concluded that he had likely “pushed the Congress, the country, and the administration too hard.”
  • The idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can't imagine.
  • The great media lie in the 1992 electoral campaign is that Clinton, unlike earlier Democratic presidential candidates, has moved from the “left” to the “middle” of the political spectrum, and also that unlike earlier presidential candidates he is not beholden to left-wing special interests. The fact is that they tried the same nonsense in the Dukakis campaign in 1988, and they were not successful in fooling too many people. Clinton’s “moderation” and “business friendly” views consist of his promotion of “investments.” But these “investments” have mysteriously been redefined to consist of government spending! The current media narrative claims that the US economy is losing productivity, and that what is needed to improve productivity is higher taxes (!) and increased government spending on “infrastructure”—that is to say, more money wasted on government roads and more money for schools which serve mostly as indoctrination camps.
  • In 2008, the United States suffered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, when Wall Street collapsed. Many experts believe that this horrific recession was precipitated by the passage of bipartisan legislation enacted during Bill Clinton's administration that deregulated Wall Street and the activities of the largest financial interests in the country.
  • In 1993, during the debate over NAFTA, President Clinton promised us that the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada would "create a million jobs in the first five years"...Unfortunately, President Clinton, Senator McConnell, the Heritage Foundation, and many, many others were way off the mark. Instead of creating a million American jobs, the Economic Policy Institute found, NAFTA destroyed more than 850,000 American jobs.
  • After Clinton's failure to reform our health care system, we ended up with a cumbersome, profit-driven, consumer-unfriendly, inefficient health care delivery system dominated by insurance companies. And I mean dominated.
  • President Clinton, like Bush and Reagan before him, is supporting a trade policy that protects the interests and profits of multinational corporations, while compromising the interests of American workers.
  • This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS. Not only do you kick him, you kick him until he passes out — then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug, and throw him off the cliff into the pound[ing] surf below!
    • Michael Scanlon, in an e-mail in reference to Bill Clinton's being politically "down" while he was called before a grand jury during the Lewinsky scandal.
  • The uncomfortable truth is that, whether you're Donald Trump or Bill Clinton, economic populism is most effective in American politics when it is paired with appeals to racism.
  • On a more serious note, one of the major differences between the two presidents dealt with partisan politics. President Clinton had reached out to the Republican Party in an attempt to have bipartisan legislation and bipartisan views of the different issues that would be required. He further extended that hand by selecting Senator William Cohen, a Republican, to be his Secretary of Defense. Contrast that with the incoming administration of President Bush, which was filled with a number of neocons and had an intense distaste- and distrust- for anybody who was associated with either a prior administration or the Democratic Party in general, in spit of their high levels of expertise and experience. I'm talking about midlevel and low-level positions that required a nomination or an appointment to be made by the President. If they had touched the Democratic Party in any way or if they had worked in a prior Democratic administration, they could forget it because they just weren't going to be considered in any capacity. It's too bad because he lost a large number of top people who would have been loyal, dedicated workers- but it was not to be. From my standpoint, it was disruptive to good government. Long gone were the days of a bipartisan view of what was best for America, which made it a very distasteful environment.
    • Hugh Shelton, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (2010), p. 418
  • "I think Bill Clinton was a great President. You know, you look at the country then - the economy was doing great. Look at what happened during the Clinton years. I mean, we had no war, the economy was doing great, everybody was happy. A lot of people hated him because they were jealous as hell."
  • The President was shooting bombs overseas. Yet, I'm a bad guy because I sing some rock-and-roll songs? Who's a bigger influence, the President or Marilyn Manson? I'd like to think me, but I'm going to go with the President.
  • In order to overcome the Reagan ascendency Democrats needed to advance the rights secured during the 1960s while returning to more traditional political bedrock. To a remarkable extent, Clinton delivered on that promise...Governor Clinton said in 1991: “Government’s responsibility is to create more opportunity for everybody, and our responsibility is to make the most of it.” These are Democratic ideas, and liberal ones. Bill Clinton reaffirmed, updated, and carried them forward into the twenty-first century.

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  1. Jerrold Post, Dangerous Charisma: The Political Psychology of Donald Trump and His Followers (Pegasus Books, 2019)