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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with William J. (Bill) Clinton, June 15, 1974. Interview A-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Exploiting general dissatisfaction with government as campaign issue

Clinton plans to use dissatisfaction with Congress to his advantage, rather than relying on party identity to win a House seat as a Democrat. He hopes that the excellent organization of his campaign will help him exploit Arkansans' unhappiness with government.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with William J. (Bill) Clinton, June 15, 1974. Interview A-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

WALTER DE VRIES:
Building your own personal organization? You're not relying on, was there any Democratic organization?
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
Yes, well, in the early going you see I had to do that.
WALTER DE VRIES:
But I'm talking about the general election now.
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
In the general election I'm going to try to weld them as much as I can. Especially where my people were good I'm going to stay with them. Hell, I had the best organization of anybody by far. It's interesting . . . you must be surprised . . . I may be kidding myself. But I really believe in organization in campaigns. And I think you can tell something from targeting and [electional law suits?] But in the first place, I think this is a highly unpredictable year and in the second place a lot of feeling of having elections here, over time, in Washington with an overview if you will. Is that a considerable majority of the people—enough to get elected on—are going to go out there and vote. I don't give a damn whether they thought of themselves as Republicans or Democrats or independents or however they voted before. Or who they thought was just the best man and who they identify with most.
JACK BASS:
You going to use the Democratic unknown ?
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
—satisfy their longings. Yes. Oh yeah, I'm going to run as a Democrat. But the message that I'm trying to get across is that what we need to do is to do something about the Congress. And that in part it's not just a problem of the Republicans. It's also a problem of the Democrats.
JACK BASS:
If you win, what do you think it's going to mean to the state Democratic party? State politics in Arkansas?
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
Well, it will mean that they've got another good Congressman in Congress. It will also mean that they'll have another, you know, young, progressive politician. What that means I don't know. They're virtually lining up to run for McClellan's seat in '76 already. unknown I just got to be the nominee of my party three days ago and a lot of people thought I couldn't do that. It's a long way against Hammerschmidt, as you know.
JACK BASS:
But then you would see yourself as kind of a moderate, tradition of the '70s which the Democratic party has developed in this state.
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
But I really also want to be part of the. . . . Yeah, I'm sure that I would. You can see I don't think in these terms, the way you're asking—