October 11

This Day in History

Presidential

Oct 11, 1975:

Bill Clinton marries Hillary Rodham

On this day in 1975, William Jefferson Clinton marries Hillary Rodham in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bill and Hillary met in 1972 while both were studying law at Yale University; both also worked on George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign. After marrying, they settled in Arkansas, where Clinton immersed himself in politics and practiced law until he decided to run for governor of the state in 1978. He won and became the youngest man ever to hold the position of governor in any state. In 1992, he ran for the presidency against Republican incumbent George H.W. Bush. He won, becoming, at age 46, the youngest president since John F. Kennedy, who took office at age 43.

Clinton’s two terms (1991 to 2000) were marred by one political scandal after another and in 1998 he became the first president since Andrew Johnson to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The impeachment trial was the culmination of a slew of scandals involving the president and first lady, which included investigations into allegedly improper Arkansas real-estate deals, suspected fundraising violations, claims of sexual harassment and accusations of cronyism. All this was capped off by Clinton’s affair with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. The president’s attempt to cover up the affair, to which he later admitted, enabled House Republican leaders to begin the impeachment process for perjury and obstruction of justice. A divided House of Representatives impeached Clinton on December 19, 1998; the issue then passed to the Senate. After a five-week trial, Clinton was acquitted.

Hillary, both during Clinton’s first presidential campaign and during her time in the White House, earned the ire of conservatives for her outspokenness and her involvement in public policy. Refusing to, in her words, "stay home and bake cookies," Hillary devoted much of her time to lobbying for universal healthcare. When Clinton’s affair surfaced, many expected Hillary to leave him; she did not and instead spoke out against what she called a "right wing conspiracy" to unseat her husband. As Clinton’s tenure in the White House came to an end, Hillary set her sights on her own political career.

In 2001, the couple moved to Chappaqua, New York, a suburb of New York City. While Bill Clinton embarked on a new career of consulting for humanitarian and public policy groups, Hillary ran for and won a seat in the United States Senate. In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election she made a bid for the Democratic nomination but was defeated by Barack Obama. In 2009, President Obama appointed her secretary of state.

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