the clinton years

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photo of bill & hillaryWhat are your reactions to this report?  Looking back on the Clinton presidency, what are your thoughts and assessments?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I want to thank you for this program. It went beyond the typical 30-second "sound bites" of the Clinton presidency
and showed us what really went on during the eight tumultous years. It showed just why this man left office
with an almost 70% approval rating. Not being an avid PBS viewer, it has also drawn me in to your network. Good work.

Leigh Mihlrad
Astoria, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,


I believe your program was a good part one. Part two might show the effects of an amoral
Presidency.

This would include the foreign and domestic dangers now more possible.
Under this administrations watch the means to use our own missile technology
delivery system against us is no longer secret. Our energy crisis,
although not totally the fault of this administration did show a lack of government
leadership for the last eight years. In either case this Presidency has
put this country in harms way.

Al Milstein
Lyndhurst, OH

Dear FRONTLINE,

That was the most dishonest FRONTLINE ever.

I watched the Nightline series and watched them omit all mention of the 1996 fund raising scandal-among many omissions. To my vast disappointment, FRONTLINE, a program I very much respect, did the same.

Clinton's sex life is none of my business, but the way he used The White House and took money from James Riady and the Chinese definitely IS.

According to this report - and the media generally - Bill Clinton's dalliances with women are the only flaw in an otherwise sterling character.


Terry Werby
Burlingame, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thanks for... The Clinton Years.
Much ink has been used describing the damage Bill Clinton did to
the institution of the Presidency.
I hope historians rightly portray who did the damage. A conglomoration of preachers,
talk show hosts, and polititians.


They hated Bill Clinton so bad, they brought our Nation to new lows,
by spreading their poison for eight years.

Leland Olson
Arlington, SD

Dear FRONTLINE,

I will start by saying this was extremely well done.

A tale of two presidencies that did seem to lean heavily on the darker side however. I suppose that that is how history works, the sensational aspects are heightened the rest makes up the background. It seems to take for granted that the American public knows or will remember the positive things of Bill Clinton's presidency. He ran on responsibility and opportunity. Some things that President Clinton did to insure the opportunities include:

The Family & Medical Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act; The Brady Bill & Assault Weapons Ban, 100,000 Police Officers leading to crime dropping to lowest levels in 25 years; Increase of the Minimum Wage and Urban Empowerment Zones which have spurred the longest economic expansion ever, highest level of homeownership ever and 22 million new jobs- the lowest unemployment in 30 years; Americorps and the conservation and creation of National Parks and Monuments.

In foriegn policy, the intervention and restoration of democracy in Haiti, Bosnia, NAFTA & GATT, and Peace in Northern Ireland were all lost in the program.

Many of these achievments happened, oddly enough, in his first term and were broad and reaching rather than poll driven small initiatives highlighted in the program.

These are the actions that have kept President Clinton popular as a president the most popular outgoing president since tracking polls have been kept even as his personal approval ratings plunged.

I know you must make edits but since creating opportunity was a pillar of his campaign and his presidency and were accomplished even though he was forced to dump his investment strategy, are remarkable accomplishments for which I will remember the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.

Hugh Shannon
Cleveland, OH

Dear FRONTLINE,


I suppose we as Americans, or better yet as imperfect humans, want and expect our leaders to be something far more than what we are.

I sometimes think that we want them to be more God like or that they should walk on water or one better, walk above the water and when we see that they are human and that they too make many of the same mistakes that so many of us have done we become deeply annoyed in the same manner we become annoyed with our own children when they too donít live up to our expectations.

I have a greater compassion for those individuals who choose to put their character to the scrutiny of us the imperfect souls who demand and expect more out of someone else than we do of ourselves.

Bill Clinton hasnít always been someone that I respected, but is someone that Iíll respect for making the best of his own imperfect life. An excellent portrayal of a very extraordinary man and a very normal human.

B. John
Provo, Utah

Dear FRONTLINE,

Congratulations ... It captured perfectly the fascinating story of the Clinton presidency in a true and accurate historical perspective. Clinton's amazing talents were justly reported, as were is dissapointing shortcomings. Over the past few weeks the media has littered the tv screens of America with many retrospectives on the last eight years and the effect that Clinton has had and will have on American history, but I must say that your report was by far the best.

This documentary was wonderfully un-sensationalist and refreshingly non-partisan, something that I have gladly come to expect from all Frontline and other PBS reports. Thank you very much.


Andrew Flippo
Marietta, Georgia

Dear FRONTLINE,

How could FRONTLINE possibly produce a two hour show on The Clinton Years--in which the exposure of Bill Clinton's sexual dalliances play such a big part--and never once mention the sexual dalliances of other Presidents, especially Bill Clinton's greatest hero,
Jack Kennedy?

How could you interview as many people as
you did, write as much narrative as you did and never
once even mention how American mores regarding a
politician's private life have changed so radically in the past 40 years?

By blaming Bill Clinton alone for the way his affairs affected his Presidency, you missed your opportunity to ask the fundamental question which is: When it comes to the invasion of privacy, how and why did this radical shift in mores take place and WHO precipitated it?

David Budbill
Wolcott, VT

Dear FRONTLINE,

I missed Nightline, but saw Frontline. Now, I wish I'd seen Nightline instead. I was expecting to see an account of the Clinton presidency, but instead I saw a rehash of the scandals, and interviews with "insiders" which appeared to be carefully edited to show the producer's bias.

Your reporting was more like The National Enquirer's than what I've come to expect from public television. What a disappointment!

O.J. Sikes
Leonia, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,


I think we were shown how the man himself changed and grew as a man and a human being. Clinton is the consumate politician. Flexibility is an asset when you are the leader of a great nation. He showed that he was willing to change his focus probably concerned with how history would remember him and adapt his goals to what was best for the country.


The insights into Hillary and her influence added depth to the story. As Stephanopolous said, if she had given over the Whitewater records in the beginning, there probably never would have been a Ken Starr.

mary paydon
hot springs, sd

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think that The Clinton Years was both well-named and
exceptionally well-done. It was not, as some of your
commentors seemed to have expected, about philosophies,
governances, or budgets. It was exactly like his
Presidency -- it was all about him and her, of
course. As for the charges that you followed "a
myopic scandal storyline," was that not the basic
storyline of this administration? This was clearly
revealed by the comments of the participants, who
focused on a new scandal or situation every few weeks.

...FRONTLINE has apparently at least I think so done a
marvelous job of presenting the "reasons why" many of
the events of the last eight years occurred, or why
they occurred in the sequence and manner that they did.
I say apparently, because the comments from viewers
include both those who say you should have been more
Republican in the sources used, and those who say you
were very partisan and biased "...republican...".

Since both sides are criticising, your must have hit
it right down the middle! The nature of my response is
more that of L... T... -- this program revealed
the reasons WHY this administration was unable to
concentrate on real policies. I wish that there had
been more real achievements, less "window dressing" by
this administration to try to get over the political
and personal debacles that they themselves created,
but that IS the story of this President and Presidency.

As for the comments of the viewers who say things like,
"I will be keeping any eye on you...sic" I would
guess that this would be in keeping with your desires,
that all of your viewers would keep any of their eyes
on your specials and maybe even would keep their minds
open to new concepts, facts, and perspectives.

My profound thanks to Chris Bury and to your staff and
producers -- shows like this make me proud to be be
living in a nation where all views and facts can be
expounded and discussed, and where even a President
under duress cannot blithely use his powers to silence
those opinions which are painful or difficult to deal
with.

I would presume that you also find some amusement
value in the comments which accuse you of being tools
of the conspiracy to ignore or denigrate the "real"
accomplishments of this President, or accuse you of
being part of the "whitewash" of Whitewater maybe?
to cover up his other misdeeds. Your selections of
material for the two hours pleased me -- it was packed
with much heretofore unspoken, if not unsuspected,
information and insight, and is probably a portent of
things to come, reports to come, analysis to come.

History will deal with Bill Clinton and his "legacy",
whatever it might be, from the standpoint of ALL
the information, and not just the facts that make his
supporters happy, or his detractors smug.


richard lumpkin
houston, texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your Clinton profile served pretty much to portray a lot of staff folks reminiscing the good ole days when they put one over on the American people. A lot of win-a-few, lose-a-few sentiments. Nice. What you so characteristically left out was the role the media played as an accomplice to this Opportunistís mischief, i.e., the omissions, the spin. This played a major part of the success enjoyed by this man. A very black period for journalism.

And not a word of how Clinton, through Executive Directives, enabled China with the means to begin mass production of state-of-the-art weapons, e.g., a solid fuel recipe to provide mobile ICBM capability; bumper motors to ensure more precise payload trajectory -- pinpoint ICBM accuracy; multi-warhead capability; supercomputers to accelerate nuclear bomb research. All the while, China engages in active proliferation with Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, and letting it be known that war with the United States is imminent.

The seeds of the hell this country will have to endure 15 to 20 years from now were sown by this pathetic fool.... and the fools who followed the fool.

FRONTLINE PBS -- are you in this number ??

Bob Remington
Beaverton, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,

Was fascinated by the great show on the Clintons last night. It was very well done and shows us all what we are missing in the rest of the television genre. A real story - well told - rather than a bunch of video bites to fill in between the endless flow of commercials on TV these days.
As for the Clintons, I for one am really fed up with them and all they represent even though I think I understand the secret of their popularity. They personify the triumph of form over substance which seems to permeate our culture as we enter the new millenium.
I learned many years ago that what you are speaks much louder than what you may say and when people are in close contact day after day, character is transparent.

If only Bill and Hillary would/could resist always being in the public eye and "feeling everyone's pain" all the time, then maybe history would judge them more kindly. In short, I feel we have experienced eightlong years of being BSed and spun to death on every imaginable issue. Now, this might go over well with some people who can't think for themselves, but I for one would appreciate it if they would just go away and leave us alone.

Irv Halland
Saratoga, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,


I did so much enjoy the program and I am glad to see such unbiased reporting for a change.Is this a sign of things to come?Will the liberal news media FINALLY start reporting responsibly?
I am glad to see 8 years of lying,blame shifting,whining and the disgusting "new morality" that this man has set for our nation come to an end.If you are one who thinks it is all about the economy...then I do feel sorry for you.

lane coleman
batson, texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

Like Dee Dee Myers, I have affection for President Clinton that I do not fully understand. Your Frontline report was excellent at pointing out Clinton's ability to bounce back from disaster and exhibit extrodinary leadership as well.

Still, whatever he accomplished as president will always be secondary to being the only elected president to be impeached.

Michael Garron
Great Neck, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,


Your presentation of Bill Clinton's time in the White House was exceptionally well done. It was balanced, and presented first hand by the people who were there. The people telling the story were not his enemies,but people he selected as his team. Thank you for your objective reporting.

Richard Mayer
St. Louis, Missouri

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