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Bill Clinton: Humble Beginnings as Adoptee, In Control at the DNC

Did you know Bill Clinton was adopted by his stepfather? Which other presidents were adopted? Is there something about a stepparent adoption that makes someone more presidential?


There have been more than rumblings in the weeks since the Democratic National Convention that Bill Clinton, if he were to run again today—wouldn’t just beat Romney, he would easily be the Democrats’ chosen candidate against Barack Obama too.
Perhaps much of the liberal electorate is romanticizing the past when it comes to Clinton’s track record—but then again, it’s a far more respectable and substantial presidential resume than either of the Bush presidencies, and some would argue as good or better than Ronald Reagan.
Does it come to anyone as a surprise then, to learn that Bill Clinton was adopted? Clinton’s father died tragically before he was born, and his mother remarried four years after his birth. William Jefferson Clinton, then barely out of toddlerhood, was the adoptive child in a stepparent adoption of his mother’s husband, William Jefferson Blythe III at the onset of the 1950s.
While it may not seem noteworthy to some, it certainly is an important story to others who were adopted by stepparents. “Knowing that one of the most successful men of the 20th century was someone who lost their natural father before being born offer a good omen to those who’ve grown up without dads—it suggests good fortune is possible when you look at life as what you make of it rather than what it makes of you,” says student counselor Julia Ambrams of Merache High School in Tulare County, Calif.
Gerald Ford was also the child of a stepparent adoption. And while President Obama was not technically adopted, his upbringing was a difficult one which also includes a narrative without a father—is there something to be said for a survival mechanism engendered by adoption or single-parented childhoods that makes a person more likely to be politically viable? Perhaps we’ll know more a few presidents from now.


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