Skip to comments.Oral history documents Clinton's years in Hope, Hot Springs
Posted on 02/07/2007 6:50:45 AM PST by presidio9
Some of Bill Clinton's friends and teachers remember the Arkansas native as a charismatic standout destined for greatness, while others recall the young Clinton was a shy boy whose clarinet playing left something to be desired.
Such first impressions -- along with memories of growing up in the still-segregated South -- are among the text of 28 interviews documenting the former president's early years in Hope and Hot Springs.
The interviews, which were released Tuesday by the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, are part of a project that aims to make Clinton the most documented president ever. The center is part of the University of Arkansas Libraries at Fayetteville.
"Bill Clinton at the age of eight...could talk to adults," Roy Clinton Jr., a cousin, said in an interview. "He'd shake their hand and all. He was the apple of his mother's eye and she had him rehearsed in the niceties of gentility toward adults."
Classmate Robert Haness of Atlanta recalled his early thoughts of Clinton: "My impression of him was, as I look back -- he was in a band, and this always sounds terrible, but my first impression of him was that he was a band nerd."
The Clinton History Project, commissioned by the Clinton Presidential Center, will focus on five phases of the former president's life: Clinton's Hope/Hot Springs years; his collegiate years at Georgetown, Oxford and Yale; the post-college years when Clinton taught law at Arkansas and served as attorney general; his Arkansas gubernatorial years and his post-presidential years.
The Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia also is conducting interviews focusing on Clinton's presidency, which the center has done for every outgoing president since Jimmy Carter. That oral history is expected to be released in 2009.
Clay Farrar, who married Clinton's stepsister, Kathy Farrar, said he first met Clinton when the soon-to-be governor was standing in line to see the popular "Star Wars" movie.
"Everybody I talked to who went to high school (with Clinton) said he was a total straight arrow -- no alcohol at all -- basically was almost shy around the coeds or the young ladies," Farrar said. "And a lot of the kids at Hot Springs High School thought he was a member of the faculty because he would wear a coat and tie to school."
Tom Dillard, head of special collections at the University of Arkansas Libraries, said documenting Clinton's Arkansas years was important because he believes that time has been glossed over or inaccurately portrayed by some historians.
"People from outside the state do not understand how people in Arkansas could know the governor on a first-name basis," Dillard said. "They could not imagine a state where people actually had direct contact with the governor."
Classmate and friend Patty Howe Criner of Little Rock said Tuesday the interview allowed her to relive her childhood and recall fond memories of growing up with Clinton.
"If I had known Bill Clinton would grow up to be the president of the United States, I would have taken better notes," she quipped.
Transcripts of the audiotaped interviews are available online; organizers say they hope to videotape future interviews, then provide the footage for schools to use in Arkansas history classes. The Pryor Center plans to conduct 300 interviews altogether.
The University of Arkansas Libraries also has access to 160 interviews conducted by the late Diane Blair during Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. Toward the end of the race, Blair interviewed Clinton campaign workers, including George Stephanopoulos and James Carville, Dillard said.
"It's an incredible inside look at a presidential campaign," Dillard said.
They did that on Purpose. Someone in the AP will be losing his job. LOL
Oral and Clinton in the same headline...again
did they mention all them burning churches he saw?
It is unfortunate the writer was not able to put the words cigar or intern in the headline. Oh well... I will settle for Oral
< grin >
Late in the Clinton administration, I drove the interstate that passes close the Hope, AR. I have never seen a sign so abused as that along the interstate that said:
"The birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton."
There must have been a hundred dents from impact from objects heaved at the sign. There were also what appeared to be several shotgun blasts.
I commented about the sign on another internet forum and was told by an Arkansas resident that the sign had to be replaced every month due to this type of damage.
Since one comes upon the sign rather suddenly, one would have to be prepared to abuse the sign implying that most of the damage came from frequent travlers who were probably local.
I think we are all aware of Clintons ORAL history.
Actually the word "oral" became superfluous after all those headlines with "Clinton" and "Lewinsky" in them.
Oral history about covers the Clinton years in the White House.
Heh heh.............. Hot Springs too. Hot Damn! Clinton keeps on giving.
"Everybody I talked to who went to high school (with Clinton) said he was a total straight arrow -- no alcohol at all -- basically was almost shy around the coeds or the young ladies"
Gee, guess he got over that whole shyness thing?
The fiction continues.
Bill and Hillary... Oral and Anal Clinton!
I am assuming that the Pryor Center means that David Pryor, the scumbag who defended Clinton to the Senate, is getting his palms greased once again.
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