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President Bill Clinton

A Tale Of Two Clintons

Janaury 29, 1996

WASHINGTON -- The same week President Clinton's solid State of the Union address pushed his approval ratings above 50 percent, Hillary Rodham Clinton's ratings sagged to a lame 42 percent. As 'The Comeback Kid' roared back again, Mrs. Clinton made history Friday as the first wife of a sitting president to testify before a grand jury, when she was called to help explain the mystery surrounding her Whitewater billing records.

Hillary clinton

By any measure, it was an improbable week for the First Family. Plagued for weeks by allegations over her roles in Whitewater and the travel office firings, Mrs. Clinton and her woes have apparently had little effect on the President. Armed with a $26-million campaign war chest, Clinton begins the primary season with a double-digit lead over GOP frontrunner Dole and is unchallenged within his own party, a first for Democrats. He's held the high ground in the protracted budget battle, saying he wants to balance the budget in seven years using economic estimates favored by Republicans while hammering the GOP for playing politics with the federal workforce. Even Newt Gingrich seems co-opted. The House Speaker stole a line from the president's play book, telling his Atlanta constituents he would "do what's right" to ensure there's no default on the national debt.

While Bill basks, Hillary reflects. "Some days...it's kind of hard," she said of her role as First Lady. "The political climate in our country today is kind of difficult." Whether her worries are purely political or not, pollsters say the barrage of questions and accusations are sticking.



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