Bill Clinton

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.

William Jefferson Clinton (born 19 August 1946) US politician, 42nd President of the United States; husband of Hillary Clinton.

SourcedEdit

  • I feel your pain.
    • Response to AIDS activist Bob Rafsky at the Laura Belle nightclub in Manhattan (March 27, 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.
  • 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
  • After all the bloodshed of this century, we know it is easy to say ‘never again,’ but much harder to make it so.

He added:

PresidencyEdit

  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work for the American people.
  • 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)
  • We want to live forever, and we're getting there.
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • 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
  • History has shown us, that you can't allow the mass extermination of people, and just sit by and watch it happen.

Post-PresidencyEdit

  • 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)
  • I felt like a pickle stepping into history.
    • During the unveiling of his official portrait in the East Room of the White House (June 14, 2004)[citation needed]
  • 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 22nd, 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 Magazine, 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.”
  • "I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say I didn't do enough claimed that I was too obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with Bin Laden. They had no meetings on Bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough, said I did too much—same people."
  • [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
  • I have met all the most gifted people in our generation and you're the best.
  • Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in '84 and '88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.
    • January 26, 2008 [7]
  • 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]
  • 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]
  • There's never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan.
    • The Economist, 18th December 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.

AttributedEdit

  • 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]
  • A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.
  • Someone should tell him that part of the art of politics is smiling when you feel like you’re swallowing a turd.

Quotes about ClintonEdit

  • 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.
  • This guy's a scumbag. That's why I'm after him.
  • Bill Clinton is generally viewed as one smart politician, having been twice elected the President, helped by lackluster Robert Dole, having survived the Lewinsky sex scandal, lying under oath about sex, and impeachment. When is it all about himself, he is cunningly smart.
  • The idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can't imagine.
  • This fellow they've nominated claims he's the new Thomas Jefferson. Well, let me tell you something. I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine. And governor, you're no Thomas Jefferson.
  • 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. [19]

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Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 13:44