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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 >>

Hard work trumps appearance in electoral success

The interviewer asks Clinton whether he worries about the effect his appearance has on voters. Clinton replies that he tries to keep his hair short, but he seems more concerned in analyzing voting patterns than staying spruce.

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:
Do you worry about the way they perceive your appearance?
WILLIAM J. (BILL) CLINTON:
Not much. I just try not to let my hair get too long. But I wear it about this length all the time. I try to dress. Everywhere. Last night I gave the first talk I ever gave in a coat and collar without a tie. I went down and talked to the plumbers and pipe fitters. Council heads from all over this district. I was about half sick. It was a real hot day. And I did it in part, too. . . . I didn't think about it too consciously, but Hammerschmidt's got a lot of support among those people. They're real conservative. And they think they love the fact he writes them letters and he's helped some of their families get black lung benefits and they don't know what his vote is on most issues, you know. So I went down there and told them. I said "Well, I'm the fellow John Paul Hammerschmidt said you bought and paid for. I hope you like what you got." And gave them a little talk about it. I don't know, it's not very professional and all that, but I really do think it's those things that get you elected. How well you campaign, how well you project yourself. In this district I think it's regardless of the composition of the counties. I think if I don't carry most of the counties I can't be elected. I don't think I can. . . . I can and I will and I'll have a lot of my friends down. A lot more sophisticated analyses of the, you know, voting patterns of the precinct. We had done a lot of. . . . I myself have sat down and looked at the boxes, every box in every county, in this election. And I will get a box by box breakdown on a couple of the relevant Congressional elections in the past. And sit down there and study it. But I think the main thing is to take the tides that are flowing now and the skills that I can bring and the issues that I want to speak on, which the people respond to. And run with it just as damn hard as I can.