Why didn’t Bill Clinton run for President in 1988?
I never really thought about it.
After all, with just one exception, a Clinton has always tried for public office whenever a tantalizing opportunity presented itself. The rule-breaker was Bill’s aborted run for president in the 1988 cycle. On the eve of his expected candidacy announcement in July 1987, with the national press gathering in Little Rock, his long-suffering chief of staff, Betsey Wright, she later told PBS, huddled with her boss and presented a list of women he was alleged to have been “seeing.” After a number of responses along the lines of “she’ll never talk,” Clinton belatedly awakened to the reality that he could self-destruct in the post-Gary Hart world—Hart had been forced out of the Democrats’ presidency sweepstakes just a couple of months earlier following allegations of adultery. The next day, Clinton declined to run, stunning the news media with the unconvincing excuse that he had decided to spend more time with his family.
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