Meet the president who rose from a humble Arkansas childhood to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history, and one of the most complex men to ever stride across the public stage. “American Experience: Clinton” part one and two comes to Arizona PBS Tuesday, July 21 and 28 at 7 p.m.
From draft dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. “Clinton” recounts a career full of accomplishment and rife with scandal, a marriage that would make history and create controversy, and a presidency that would define the crucial and transformative period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. It follows Clinton across his two terms as he confronted some of the key forces that would shape the future, including partisan political warfare and domestic and international terrorism, and struggled, with uneven success, to define the role of American power in a post-Cold War world. Most memorably, it explores how Clinton’s conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confounded his friends.
Part one (July 21) follows Bill Clinton’s bumpy road to that 1992 presidential victory, an amazing triumph over repeated scandals and setbacks, through the first two years of his presidency. The tumultuous first two years of the Clinton presidency see the beginning of the Whitewater scandal, the shocking death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, and the humiliating defeat of Hillary’s healthcare bill. Watch online.
Part two (July 28) shows the aftermath of the 1994 Republican victory as Clinton begins to sideline his most trusted advisors in favor of an aggressive political consultant named Dick Morris, who uses extensive polling to diagnose the administration’s weaknesses and develop strategies to correct them. Clinton wins the 1996 election in a landslide, pulling off one of the greatest turnarounds in political history. But events have been set in motion that will soon divide the country and nearly destroy Clinton’s presidency. Watch online.