5. President Clinton Improved Space Exploration
Though space exploration was not a top priority of the Clinton administration, there were significant advances while he was president. When President Clinton entered into the White House in 1993, he was advised that he should cancel the program that funded the space station, as it was behind its schedule and it was over budget. Clinton, however, decided to accept a proposal that redesigned the space station and used both U.S. and Russian made parts. This not only helped to improve space exploration, it also improved U.S.-Russian relations. Other European countries, Canada and Japan also came together, and thus, the International Space Station was created.
As the space station was being developed, there were missions from the U.S. to Mir, the Russian space station, and Clinton was present to greet astronauts, such as Shannon Lucid, who returned from her mission. Clinton was also present to watch John Glenn return to space on the Discovery space shuttle.
The Clinton presidency also approved initiative to create a new replacement for the shuttle. One of them was the X-33, which pushed the limits of technology, but was ultimately cancelled.
By 1996, NASA announced that they possibly found traces of life on a meteorite. Clinton held a press conference and announced that he was going to ask NASA to put more intellectual and technical power behind the search for life on Mars. After this announcement, Clinton worked closely with NASA throughout his presidency to continuously use resources to search for extraterrestrial life.
4. President Clinton Fought HIV/AIDS and Improved the Health of New Mothers
When President Clinton was elected, he had very lofty goals for healthcare, including the reform of the U.S. healthcare system. Overseas and in Canada, changes were made to their healthcare systems, and the results were something that the Clinton administration thought would work well here. As our healthcare system was so fragile and convoluted, something certainly needed to be done. Clinton introduced the Health Security plan, one that would bring universal health care to the U.S. Within a year, however, Congress had squashed it quietly, and any chance for healthcare reform was dead.
Though his health care reform plan didn’t make it, President Clinton was able to make some positive changes on the healthcare front. The most important of these was the improved health of new mothers. In 1996, he signed the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act, which allowed women to stay in the hospital for as many as 96 hours after giving birth, if necessary. This was a big change from the previous limit of 24 hours, in most cases, and all group health care plans were required to change to this system. Mothers who had a C-section were given a full 96 hours of hospital stay that was paid for through their coverage, and those who had a vaginal delivery were given 48 hours. This extra time also helped to ensure both the mother and baby were in good health before sending them home.
3. President Clinton Brought Peace to Other Areas of the World, Too
Though Clinton is known as a peace-time president, that doesn’t mean that there were not conflicts in other areas of the world. For example, President Clinton was a huge part of enacting the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. This agreement brought peace to Northern Ireland, which had been undergoing political turmoil. This agreement was part of the full peace process of Northern Ireland, and Clinton regarded it as one of the crowning achievements of his presidential career.
In addition to helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland, Clinton was also instrumental in helping other nations encourage the former Soviet Union nations to give up any nuclear arsenals and to improve upon the control of nuclear materials. Additionally, Clinton worked closely with NATO to end the ethnic cleansing campaign brought about by Slobodon Milosevic, who was later charged and tried for war crimes. Following the bombing of Serbia in this campaign, Clinton sent 20,000 troops to help enforce peace. There were no American casualties.
Clinton also worked incredibly hard to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and in 2001 attempted to orchestrate a peace agreement at Camp David. Unfortunately, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, walked away from the peace process, and peace was not meant to be between Israel and Palestine. Arafat did complement Clinton for his efforts, however, and told him that he was a great man. Clinton, however, replied with, “I am a failure, and you have made me one.”