Monday, Jul. 27, 2009

Bill Clinton

"Indeed I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong ... I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that."

When most philandering husbands get caught, they face angry wives and bewildered children; Bill Clinton fessed up his affair to the entire country. His stony-faced White House address to the nation on Aug. 17, 1998, is probably the most public acknowledgment of presidential shenanigans in the history of the republic. He confessed to a sexual liaison with intern Monica Lewinsky but sought to put an end to the scandal, defiantly insisting that "even Presidents have private lives." It wasn't to be. Interest among the press, the public and even Congress swelled over following months, leading to just the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history. Clinton publicly apologized at least half a dozen times for the affair, later acknowledging his original statement lacked the contrition many Americans were looking for. As he presciently noted later that August, "I'm having to become quite an expert in this business of asking for forgiveness."

Download the TIME BlackBerry App at