Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006

Bill Clinton: 1992, 1998

Seldom has a president provoked so many extreme reactions. In naming President Clinton Man of the Year for 1992 (1/4/93), TIME magazine wrote, "History may eventually decide that the key to Clinton's accomplishment lay in his temperament — in his buoyancy, optimism and readiness to act, in his enthusiasm for people and curiosity about their lives. Clinton emerges from the sunnier, gregarious side of American political characters."

However, by 1999, when President Clinton and Kenneth Starr were named TIME's Men of the Year for 1998, the magazine wrote, "There is rubble everywhere around us now. The fate of a President moved from the hands of a flushed girl on a rope line to the halls of a howling Congress in battle fatigues. Civility, long rationed, ran out first... No action, however solemn, is judged on its merits; everyone's got an angle. Even if the fighting ended tomorrow, it will be years before the wreckage is cleared." (1/4/99)

Researched by Joan Levinstein, the Time Inc. Research Center