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Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

A tale of two Democratic dynasties.

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Running for president, Bill Clinton tried to invoke JFK’s vigor. In office, he cozied up with the slain president’s family. But once Hillary reached the Hill, the two families started to split.


1963:
Bill, 16, shakes JFK’s hand during a Boys Nation visit to the White House.

January 1993:
Just before Inauguration Day, Bill prays at JFK’s grave and visits RFK’s. Days later, Hillary visits Jackie O. in New York to get advice on things like raising kids in the White House and First Lady fashion.


June 1993:
Bill gets an honorary degree from Northeastern University; Ted gives him his hood.


October 1993:
Bill attends JFK Library ceremony; Caroline says,President Kennedy lives on in those he inspired to enter public life.”


Mid-nineties:
Bill and Ted work together to expand Head Start, college loans, and immunization programs and to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act. Clintons take to summering on Martha’s Vineyard and sailing with Teddy, Jackie, and the rest.


1994:
When Ted faces a tough reelection challenge from Mitt Romney, Bill and Hillary travel to Boston to bolster campaign events. In May, Jackie is buried next to JFK. Bill eulogizes: “May the flame she lit so long ago burn ever brighter here and always brighter in our hearts.”

1996:
Bill and Ted team up to pass the Health-Insurance Portability Act and up the minimum wage. But Ted won’t help with welfare reform.

1997–98:
Bill won’t support Ted’s plan to raise tobacco taxes and funnel the money to cover 6 million uninsured kids, fearing it would prevent a balanced budget; Ted successfully appeals to Hillary. At Ted’s urging, Bill brokers the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland.

2000–04:
A freshman senator, Hillary joins the Health Committee, where Ted is ranking Dem. But she nurtures a mentor relationship with the one senator who’s served longer than him: Robert Byrd. She splits with both when she votes to authorize the Iraq war.


January 27, 2008:
Caroline endorses Obama in a Times op-ed: “I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president.” Ted calls Bill to inform him that he’s endorsing Obama, too.

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