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Monday, February 20 at 9 p.m. – Clinton: American Experience

(Rochester, NY) – From draft dodging to the Dayton Accords, from Monica Lewinsky to a balanced budget, the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton veered between sordid scandal and grand achievement. In Clinton, the latest installment in the critically acclaimed and successful collection of presidential biographies, American Experience explores the fascinating story of an American president who rose from a turbulent childhood in Arkansas to become one of the most successful politicians in modern American history and one of the most complex and conflicted characters ever to stride across the public stage. The two-part series, airing Monday, February 20 at 9 p.m. and Tuesday, February 21 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11), recounts a career full of accomplishment and rife with scandal, a marriage that would make history and create controversy, and a presidency that would define the crucial and transformative period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. It follows Clinton across his two terms as he confronted some of the key forces that would shape the future, including partisan political warfare and domestic and international terrorism, and struggled, with uneven success, to define the role of American power in a post-Cold War world.

Most memorably, it explores how Clinton’s conflicted character made history, even as it enraged his enemies and confounded his friends. From Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Barak Goodman, the four-hour Clinton features unprecedented access to scores of Clinton insiders including White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta (current Secretary of Defense), former Senator Trent Lott, Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, as well as interviews with dozens of journalists, members of the Republican opposition, childhood friends, staffers from Clinton’s years as Governor of Arkansas, and biographers.

“William Jefferson Clinton is a lightning rod in American history,” says Mark Samels, executive producer of American Experience. “It’s hard to find anyone who is neutral about the man or his presidency. The complex dynamic between his public accomplishments and his personal foibles makes him endlessly fascinating. At American Experience we like to explore the people who have shaped the times in which they live and Bill Clinton, both charismatic and confounding, certainly had a profound effect on the country during his presidency.”

Clinton is the 16th episode in the American Experience Presidents' series. Programs in the series have won dozens of awards including Emmys, Peabodys, and duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards. Previous programs include LBJ, Nixon, FDR, Jimmy Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Photo: President Clinton is sworn in during the Inauguration Ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (January 20, 1997)
Credit: Courtesy of Courtesy of William J. Clinton Presidential Library


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.