He is the gift of a former president who just keeps on giving. He is the former POTUS who lied to Congress and somehow stayed in office, and enjoyed an increase in popularity. He has nicknames a’plenty, including the oft spoken Slick Willy, but we know him best as President Bill Clinton. As you’d imagine, the former president—who has to have a great sense of humor—is a wealth of secrets. We can’t dive too deep into the realm of Clinton conspiracies, but we can offer up 15 stellar facts you didn’t know about Bill Clinton. Without further ado…
15. Bigger Than You Think
Bill Clinton was a strapping young man, and he’s a bigger man than you think. President Clinton was one of the tallest presidents of the 44 who have served. He stands at 6’2″, and at his heaviest he tipped the scales at a reported 230 lbs. We’re thinking he probably went over 230 at some point, and that’s when he began to suffer from some health issues. The president famously endured a total body transformation after a successful heart bypass surgery. Growing up in the South, President Clinton took on a few indulgent eating practices. He was a fan of rich food and was known to eat a variety of fast foods while on the go, even during his presidency. He also had a sweet tooth when it came to beverages…everyone knows people in the South love Kool-Aid. Okay, maybe not, but Bill Clinton certainly did.
14. He Was the First President of Hope
Barack Obama may have built his campaign on two simple words, “Hope” and “Change,” but he wasn’t the first president of hope. President William Jefferson Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas. The southwest Arkansas town was a stone’s throw from Texarkana. If you’re familiar with American geography, it means the 42nd President of the United States was just down the road from Texas and Louisiana. The subculture in these small towns, and surrounding towns and cities, were exceptionally influential on the boy from Hope, and instrumental in the development of his charm. While in Hope, little Bill was raised by his mother, and his grandparents when his mom was living in New Orleans, Louisiana, studying to become a nurse. His father—for whom William Jefferson was named—died in a car accident before Clinton was born. President Clinton attributes his interest in law and politics to his childhood influences.
13. William Jefferson Blythe
A little more about the young William Jefferson. Young Bill was the prize and crown jewel of his family, and before he took the name Clinton, he lived into his teenage years as William Jefferson Blythe. Blythe was the name of the father that Bill never knew. William Jefferson Blythe Jr. was a traveling salesman who specialized in the sale of heavy equipment. He had a sweet spot for meeting women on the road, and had been married multiple times before he married President Clinton’s mother, Virginia Cassidy. Blythe Jr. died following a car accident traveling from Chicago, Illinois, to Hope, Arkansas. He was thrown from the vehicle and landed in a drainage ditch where he drowned after struggling to escape. What’s all this mean? Bill Clinton’s entire life has been like a movie.
12. That Monica Lewinsky Thing
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Everyone wants the dirt on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. If you didn’t live the Lewinsky scandal, you missed out. Bill Clinton was hardly the first president to have relations with a woman (or man) who wasn’t his spouse. No other president fell under the scrutiny or faced the backlash like President Bill Clinton. President Clinton lived during the era of warring mainstream media, looking for any chink in his armor. Because Monica Lewinsky was a young White House intern, President Clinton had to endure the media blitz…and then he lied. He lied to the media, he lied to Congress and ultimately to the American people. Years later it was stated that the relationship went on from 1995-1997, before the crap hit the fan in 1998. It wasn’t just a one and done fiasco starring the infamous blue dress.
11. He’s Made of Teflon
This may go for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, but it seems impossible to make anything stick to a politician with the last name of Clinton. We’re well aware House of Cards is loosely based on the characteristics of the political power couple, but in the real life of the Clintons—as can be seen everyday in the 2016 presidential campaign for Hillary—there is a lot of dirt that people are hurling toward the couple, and nothing ever seems to stick. President Bill Clinton looked like he might endure a Congressional Impeachment, but with that charm and charisma that talked him out of every mess in his life, the mud rinsed right off and he went back to work as the POTUS for a couple more years. You name any scandal involving Bill Clinton, and it splashed off him like water on RainX: Whitewater; Vince Foster; 1993 Somalian conflict—nothing sticks.
10. How Ya Like Them Apples?
Bill Clinton is every bit of a country boy, regardless of his gallivanting the globe as Commander in Chief from 1993-2001. When he was living with his grandparents in Hope, Arkansas, as a youngster, he was fortunate to always have food on the table, because his mother’s parents ran a grocery store for their rural community. A fascinating tidbit, before the fun fact about Bill Clinton and apples. At the time Bill was around his grandparents and their grocery operation, the United States was strictly segregated, but not in his grandparents’ store. They provided groceries to anyone and everyone, and even provided groceries on credit to all in need. Now, back to apples. When the former president snacks on an apple, he leaves no waste. He bites into the thing like a horse, and eats the entire apple, including the core and the seeds.
9. Hot Springs Clintons
As is now abundantly clear, Bill Clinton was not born Bill Clinton. Named for his birth father, he kept the name until he was coming upon his teenage years. After several years of living as a widow, Bill’s mother remarried. The man’s name: Roger Clinton. Roger Clinton was another salesman, but this one stayed near home and sold cars at a local lot. When Bill was seven, the family moved from Hope, Arkansas, to Hot Springs, Arkansas. (It is worth mentioning, Hot Springs, Arkansas, is one of America’s best kept secrets.) Bill began to thrive in Hot Springs, and when he was 10, the family welcomed Roger Jr. into the fold. Being the only member of the family without the Clinton surname, Bill adopted the name in 1962, and then changed his name as a teenager. His legal name is William Jefferson Clinton.
8. This Guy Was Great at School
President Bill Clinton—well, technically, Governor Bill Clinton—infamously admitted to smoking a little weed in his days as a student, but he “didn’t inhale.” We can categorize that one as one of the former president’s many eye-rolling comments. That said, maybe he was serious. Bill Clinton wasn’t in favor of anything that would distract him from being the best student he could be. He was an excellent student throughout high school, he went on to college, was awarded scholarships, studied abroad and eventually landed at Yale, where he excelled in securing a degree in law, and meeting a fly honey by the name of Hillary Rodham. Considering Bill Clinton the student, it wasn’t only good grades that scored him so much opportunity and accolades, he was very active socially. He was also a jock of sorts—more on that in a moment.
7. From One President to Another
Unlike some of his peers who opted for the easiest route through high school, Bill Clinton set his sights on lands beyond his Arkansas borders. Having been raised by a mother and grandparents who defied convention, Bill had different ideas about what could be accomplished from his Arkansas launching pad. While a high school student, Bill participated in a program offered by the local American Legion, entitled Boys Nation. During his senior year, he was awarded a trip to Washington, D.C., where he met and was able to shake the hand of President John F. Kennedy. You can let your mind wander on this one. It is a little ironic that the two presidents who are known for being less than faithful to their wives had a chance—or was it—encounter in the early 1960s.
6. No Safety Schools
When you’ve enjoyed a high school career that included a trip to Washington, D.C. (to rub shoulders with President John F. Kennedy), you boast some excellent grades, impressive musicianship and have the reputation of a charismatic young man, why would you send out a lot of college applications? Bill Clinton was intrigued by the idea of Washington, D.C., so he decided he’d go to college right in the district. Georgetown University is one of the most prestigious universities in all of the United States, so surely Bill had a backup plan in the event he wasn’t accepted to GU? Nope. And he didn’t need it. We imagine he used to sit on campus and look out over the Potomac and think to himself, “I’ll be the first President from Arkansas. I will cross that river just like George!”
5. In Catiline’s Defense
Are you familiar with Lucius Sergius Catilina? If you’re an American who went to high school some years ago, you might have heard of him. If you’re a history buff, or really into government conspiracies, then you’re likely familiar. The man most often referred to as Catiline in the English tongue, was charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Roman Republic and the Aristocratic Senate. Though he had some 10,000 warriors ready to fight his fight, many deserted, and he was left with 3,000 vs. two converging Roman military forces. That sets the stage. When does Bill Clinton enter? Some 2,000 years later in a high school classroom, when he opted to argue the defense for Catiline. This was part of a Latin class, and Bill took the job even though he knew Catiline’s outcome—death. He attributes this experience to his love for, and his pursuit of law as a profession.
4. No Pads Needed
We made mention first thing: Bill Clinton was a “healthy” boy. He was quite active in high school, and didn’t allow anyone to pigeonhole him. He wasn’t a varsity athlete at the high school level, but he loved sports and eventually had the opportunity to play in a highly competitive environment when he went to Oxford for two years of study as a Rhodes Scholar. His sport of choice, or perhaps the sport that chose him? Rugby. When you’re 6’2″ and weigh a few stone (that’s what they would have said at Oxford), there’s a damn good chance a fellow student is going to see you and say: “Hey mate. Have you given Rugby a go?” This is also probably when Bill Clinton enjoyed his first toke of the ganja, and drank too much alcohol in a sitting. Back in the States, Bill preferred Church League Basketball.
3. Keeps ‘Em High and Tight
You wanted facts you didn’t know, so we had to go digging around. Or, perhaps picking…? Wedgies? Eh. Poor attempt at a bad joke, but an excellent introduction to this tidbit. When it comes to his preference of underwear, former President Clinton will take briefs over boxers. This isn’t uncommon for a person who grew up running around, and then played some sports at the collegiate. Having your bros flop around freely doesn’t really work on the field of play. This isn’t to say that William Jefferson doesn’t appreciate a nice pair of boxers from time to time, but keeping things contained is something of a daily goal. Yep, there are a million jokes that cold be derived from this one, and we’re sure Jay Leno dropped a few on The Tonight Show back in the day.
2. Carpet The Bed
What could this subhead possibly be in reference to? A carpeted bed—what else? Well, technically, it was Astro Turf. Bill Clinton once owned an El Camino, and as you’d expect from an Arkansan, he installed Astro Turf in the truck bed. Yes, technically, an Elky is a truck, not a car, but that’s another post for another time. President Clinton offered this revelation to a group of workers/audience members at a truck manufacturing plant in Louisiana. He accompanied the statement with a wink and the following words: “You don’t want to know why, but I did…” You know, Mr. Former President, we can figure why you did. Your reputation…preceded you from the 1970s on. We do offer the president a tip of the cap for being a true Ozarkian. Laying some rug in your truck bed is a legitimate hillbilly and redneck rite of passage.
1. President Hillary
Las Vegas has set Hillary Clinton as the odds on favorite to win the United States Presidency in November of 2016. At the time of publication she’s set at -350, or 3.5:1. Bill has a lot to do with it. These two have been through it. Bill had his choice of ladies due to his charismatic nature and continuous positions of power, but nobody did it for him like Hillary. He simply couldn’t get enough. And maybe she’s the heat that could burn the Teflon off the pan, and make something stick to Bill, but let’s call it like it is: these two love one another. And here’s your fun little tidbit. Hillary busted Bill in the grill after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. President Clinton claimed he ran into a wall, but the White House staff told a different story: a lamp to the face.