Arkansas Business' 25 Clintonites (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

3. Joycelyn Elders
Can you say condoms, children? I knew that you could.

Dr. Joycelyn Elder's honesty was her downfall. She headed the state Health Department under Clinton, and her support for school-based health clinics, abortion rights and sex education in schools offended many.

She didn't alter her views after Clinton named her U.S. Surgeon General in 1993. At a '94 United Nations conference on HIV-AIDS, Elders, in response to a question about the promotion of masturbation as an alternative to sexual intercourse, said: "I think that is something that is a part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught. But we've not even taught our children the very basics."

A firestorm of criticism predictably ensued, and Clinton fired her.

Elders is retired now and living in Little Rock, though she remains much in demand as a speaker.

4. Gennifer Flowers
The Little Rock singer caused quite the frenzy when, during Clinton's first presidential campaign, she told the tabloid Star that she had had a 12-year affair with the candidate. She even had tapes of their conversations, she said.

Flowers flung open rumors about Clinton's libido that had been making the rounds in Arkansas for years. She was the first woman to go public about claims of a liaison with the man who would become president. She wouldn't be the last.

The story proved to have "legs," as we say in the business. On Jan. 26, 1992, Bill and Hillary Clinton appeared on "60 Minutes," where Bill denied the affair with Flowers. The couple acknowledged having had problems in their marriage, but even under repeated questioning, Clinton refused to say whether he'd ever had an extramarital affair.

In the interview Hillary denied being "some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette," except she did stand by her man. Hillary's support was widely credited for saving Clinton's campaign. He came in a strong second in the New Hampshire primary a few weeks later and dubbed himself "the Comeback Kid."

Clinton later admitted having had sex with Flowers but denied the 12-year affair.

Flowers now lives in New Orleans, according to her Web site,, where she describes herself as an "actress, comedienne and singer."

5. Vince Foster
If so much about the Clinton years played out as vicious farce, Vince Foster's death was a tragedy. Foster, another native of Hope and partner in the Rose Law Firm, fatally shot himself on July 20, 1993, in a Virginia park near Washington, D.C. He was barely six months into his position as the president's deputy legal counsel.



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