William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States

More Career Connections

Childhood pictureBill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, in the small town of Hope, Arkansas. He was named after his father, William Jefferson Blythe II, who had been killed in a car accident just three months before his son was born. Needing to find a way to support herself and her new child, Bill Clinton's mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to study nursing. Bill Clinton stayed with his mother's parents in Hope.

Bill Clinton's grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, cared for him until his mother returned from New Orleans with her nursing degree in 1950, when her son was four years old. Later that same year, she married Roger Clinton. In 1956. Bill Clinton's half-brother, Roger Clinton, Jr., was born. When his brother was old enough to enter school, young Bill had his last name legally changed from Blythe to Clinton.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected President. Two years later, when Bill Clinton was a senior in high school, he was selected to go to Washington, D.C., to be a part of Boys Nation, a special youth leadership conference. The young men of Boys Nation and the young women of Girls Nation were invited to the White House to meet President Kennedy. Bill Clinton was one of the first in line to shake President Kennedy's hand in the Rose Garden. That event was one of the most memorable, important experiences of his youth. After that, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people of America by becoming President.

Playing the SaxaphoneBill Clinton recognized that although college would be expensive, it would give him the education he needed to accomplish his goals. His hard work in school, combined with his musical ability, earned him many academic and music scholarships. With the help of those scholarships and loans from the government, he was able to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He chose Georgetown because it had an excellent foreign service program; he was also excited about going to school in the nation's capital. He graduated from law school in 1973 and returned to Arkansas to teach law at the University of Arkansas. There he could concentrate on his goal of running for political office. In 1974, he had his first opportunity when he ran for Congress.

In 1976, Bill Clinton was elected Attorney General of Arkansas. Two years later, at the age of thirty-two, he became the youngest governor in the United States. As governor of Arkansas, he concentrated on improving the state's educational system and building better roads. From August 1986 to August 1987, Governor Clinton served as chairman of the National Governors' Association. During that time, he led the governors' efforts to reform the welfare system and the educational systems of the states. By the fall of 1991, Governor Clinton believed that the country needed someone with a new vision and plan, and he decided to run for President. He also felt that he had the experience and the best ideas for changing our country for the better. He wanted to strengthen the health care system, to improve the school system, and, most of all, to bolster the economy and create new jobs.

InagurationOn November 3, 1992, voters turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots. Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States and Al Gore the 45th Vice President.

As President, Bill Clinton is constantly required to use mathematical ideas. He most have a keen grasp of statistics since so many decisions are based on data gathered. He most know if the data was gathered in a manner that represents a true picture of the way things really are. He must have a strong sense of "number." Budget figures involve trillions of dollars. Different government programs and agencies have budgets in the hundreds of millions and billions. While on paper, the may involve one, two or there zeros, the President most understand that $100 billion amounts to $400 for EVERY American and $1 trillion amounts to $4,000 per person. The President must also be able to use mathematics to make strong arguments to the American people and to Congress. For example, in listing his accomplishments, nearly every item involves some form of mathematics. Examine the case the President makes for how he has helped the U.S. economy and notice how each item is supported by mathematical argument:

Economy: the Strongest Economy in a Generation

  • Closing the Book on A Generation of Deficits -- in 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. In 1999, we had a budget surplus of $124 billion -- the largest dollar surplus on record (even after adjusting for inflation) and the largest as a share of our economy since 1951. With the President's plan, we are now on track to eliminate the nation's publicly held debt by 2015.
  • More than 20 Million New Jobs -- more than 92 percent (18.5 million) of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years. This is the most jobs ever created under a single Administration -- and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. Under President Clinton, the economy has added an average of 244,000 jobs per month, the highest of any President on record. This compares to 52,000 per month under President Bush and 167,000 per month under President Reagan.
  • Fastest and Longest Real Wage Growth in Two Decades -- Since 1993, real wages have grown 6.5 percent - compared to declining 4.3 percent during the previous two administrations. In 1998, real wages were up 2.7 percent -- that's the fastest annual real wage growth in over 20 years.
  • Unemployment Is the Lowest in 29 Years -- down from 7.5 percent in 1992 to 4.1 percent today -- staying below 5 percent for 29 months in a row.
  • Highest Homeownership Rate in History -- In the third quarter 1999, the homeownership rate was 67.0 -- the highest ever recorded.

Office of the President- Biography
This page contains a biographical sketch of President Clinton.

A Vision for the 21st Century - Economic Accomplishments
A list of the economic accomplishments during President Clinton's term in office.

You can examine the other areas of President Clinton's accomplishments at the web site sited below and notice how in each, mathematics is used to support his work.

Clinton-Gore Administration: A Record of Accomplishments
A "table of contents pages for the accomplishments during the Clinton-Gore administrations in areas such education, the economy, and health care as well as state-by-state accomplishments.