National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Forty-second President, 1993-2001
President Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection victory over former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole may have seemed almost a foregone conclusion at the time, especially considering Clinton's personal popularity and his ideological migration toward the political center. Yet the election proved to be significant in several ways: not since 1936 had a Democratic president won reelection, and for the first time since 1930 a Republican Congress was reelected. Moreover, not in the nation's history had a Democrat been voted into the White House while the opposition party controlled Congress. The American people, in Time's view, were clearly voicing their mandate for checks and balances and bipartisanship in Washington. Not even a watchdog Congress, however, could have anticipated the drastic measures it would take when the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal suddenly came to light. The House of Representatives impeached Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice, only to have the Senate vote for acquittal.