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American Experience: Clinton
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The documentary traces Clinton's life from his Arkansas boyhood, living with his mother and his abusive stepfather, and follows with how he met and married Hillary, his early political rise leading to his time in the Governor's mansion, complete with the triumphs and disasters which accompanied his tenure in state politics. It describes how his national profile became elevated, how a long and boring speech at a Democratic convention almost torpedoed his political ascendency, and how he was able to learn from and get past that mistake. It goes on to relive his campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1992, complete with the first national publicity of his extra-marital affairs, and the masterful way in which he overcame that hurdle to become the Comeback Kid.
The segment on the 1992 election is a wonderful recounting of how the obscure southern governor was able to defeat a President who, less than a year earlier, enjoyed an unprecedented 90% approval rating by schooling everyone in the lesson that, when it comes to presidential elections, "it's the economy stupid", a lesson that subsequent presidents forget at their peril.Read more ›
This man is perhaps least understood by people like me, who were very young when he took office and never experienced him "live." Before I watched this, I generally understood his tenure as one of a sex scandal and impeachment. Most of his other accomplishments and failures faded to the background. Thankfully, this video provides a vicarious catch-up on what happened a few years ago. Lest we turn Bill into a one-liner, it is important to watch this film, remembering what he accomplished as a politician and reflecting on his vision as a leader. Depth and fairness are really the goals of public broadcasting, and this program provides a great deal of both. The content is thoughtful and memorable.
That being said, the stylistic approach caused me to shake my head a few times in disappointment. Compare this with American Experience: FDR, which presented overwhelmingly-neutral and unembellished commentary. This film, though, at times strays into subjectivity, dramatization, and triviality. Some of the commentary takes on a tabloid style.
The problem is most noticeable with the coverage of the president's scandals. While you would hope the topic to be covered carefully and given due context, PBS seemed to adopt the popular approach - to make it an issue of book deals, high-powered wheeling and dealing, and attention-grabbing headlines.Read more ›
All this "slick Billy" lawyering his way out of dirt, just didn't sit well with me. I would say, I felt worse about Bill Clinton after the series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like presidential biography. No one does it better than PBS. I remember the time well. I am stuck with the sad fact that we never gave Bill Clinton a chance to govern. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Deacon John
While I neither personally nor politically like Bill Clinton I'm am always intrigued by presidential history. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Eric F.
The usual solid production from PBS. Almost as much on Hilary as Bill. Worth a watch.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The film was about Bill, but It showed that Hillary was and is a true public servant.Published 1 month ago by Willi N