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President Clinton's First News Conference

President Bill ClintonClinton_Name



The President's News Conference
November 8, 1996


In President Bill Clinton's first press conference after his second election to office, he references Al Zacher's book "Trial & Triumph".  Here is an excerpt from that news conference:

President's Second Term

Q. Mr. President, we know that you're an avid student of Presidential history, and in modern times second terms for Presidents have been either disappointing or disastrous. I wonder if you've drawn any lessons on why that's so— [laughter]—and if there are any pitfalls in particular that you are determined to avoid for yourself.

The President. Actually, I read a book not very long ago on second—there is a book that's just been written on second-term Presidencies. And I was a little nervous about reading it before the election, but along toward the end I read it. And I got to thinking in my own mind about the second terms of, you know, President Truman's second term, President Eisenhower's second term, and President Reagan's second term, and then the others in the 20th century especially I focused upon.

What the record shows is that the things which derail a second term are basically three: One is, some external event intervenes, and the President can't fulfill his dreams or hopes or his agenda. Two is—I mean, apart from the obvious case. The second thing that happens is, sometimes a President thinks he has more of a mandate than he does and tries to do too much in the absence of cooperation. That was the rap on President Roosevelt's second term, that his first and third terms were greater than his second term because of that. And the third is that sometimes a President essentially just runs out of steam. That was the rap that was attempted to be put on President Reagan, although I would remind you that in President Reagan's second term he signed the tax reform legislation and the first big welfare reform overhaul, which was quite a good bill.


The entire news conference an source of this information can be found here:


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