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President Clinton's 'year in review'

By Chris Black/CNN

December 30, 1999
Web posted at: 12:15 p.m. EST (1715 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For President Bill Clinton, 1999 was the year to make up for lost time.

"Last year was one of the most difficult years in my life," Clinton said during a February news conference, in reference to the entirety of his 1998, which was dominated by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"I dont think any of us can afford to let what has happened get in the way of doing our best for our people and for the future, and I'm going to do my very best to do that," Clinton added at the February appearance.

The Senate acquitted the president February 12 of impeachment charges. Within weeks, international concerns dominated his time.

President Clinton spoke at the White House after being acquitted by the Senate  

NATO's air assault over the Yugoslav province of Kosovo required hands-on care and feeding of a longstanding alliance previously untested by war.

In the midst of the military campaign, NATO celebrated its 50th anniversary. The alliance eventually forced Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.

The president travelled overseas several times, including to Mexico, to Central America, and to bid farewell to King Hussein of Jordan and King Hassan of Morocco. He also travelled to Sarajevo, to New Zealand, to western and eastern Europe, and finally to Kosovo to see the war-torn province and ask the embittered ethnic Albanians to move beyond hatred.

"You can never forget the injustice that was done to you," Clinton said in a November 23 speech to the Kosovar Albanians. "No one can force you to forgive what was done to you, but you must try."

Mr. Clinton used new opportunities to try to settle old conflicts. Ehud Barak became Israel's new prime minister, vowing to become a warrior for peace. And, the combatants in Northern Ireland finally came together in a new, joint government.

But, Clinton's relationship with the Republican Congress showed little signs of improvement. The Senate voted down the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. A prolonged budget battle finally ended in his favor after he vetoed a Republican tax cut.

But much of his agenda remained incomplete.

One domestic issue he returned to repeatedly was school violence. The carnage in Littleton, Colorado was one of the few issues to resonate with a public enjoying the longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history.

Using his bully pulpit, he highlighted the plight of those left behind by the economic boom, and bypassed the Congress by using his executive authority on medical privacy, to subsidize family leave, and to protect America's natural treasures.

Year seven of the Clinton presidency showed events often overtake agendas. As Clinton heads into his eighth and final year in office, he is already sharing the spotlight with the candidacies of his wife and vice president.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, of course, is running for the U.S. Senate in New York, while Al Gore is hoping to move into the White House living quarters once the Clintons move out.

And the president is beginning to contemplate just what the terrain of his life may look like once this final year draws to a close.


Clinton 'gratified' by year's accomplishments (12-08-99)

Clinton's impeachment: One year later, a defining moment fades from the national consciousness(12-17-99)

CNN's comprehensive Year 2000 coverage includes in-depth looks at New Year's Eve celebrations and the Y2K scare. (12-29-99)


The White House Web site


Thursday, December 30, 1999

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