Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers 1992
On the verge of an expected victory in New Hampshire, Bill Clinton's presidential campaign faced the biggest frenzy of 1992 when allegations arose of an extramarital affair with Arkansas state employee and cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers.
Revealing claims that no respectable news outlet had been able to substantiate, the Star, a trashy supermarket tabloid, "broke" the Flowers story on Jan. 23, 1992. Armed with ambiguously damning taped phone conversations and well compensated by the Star for her revelations, Flowers claimed a 12-year affair with Clinton.
During the next week, almost every legitimate news source would pick up the story in some form or another and the allegations would nearly torpedo the Clinton campaign. To counter the allegations, Clinton appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" with his wife immediately following the Super Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26. With 50 million Americans tuned in, the Clintons tried to shake off the charges. In the end, with the help of a relatively weak Democratic candidate pool and the public's focus on economic issues, Clinton was able to contain the damage caused by the Flowers frenzy and his presidential ship stayed afloat.
Six years later, in his deposition to lawyers representing former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against him, Clinton reportedly acknowledged for the first time in any known forum that he did have sexual relations with Flowers, saying it occurred just one time in 1977.
© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato