Scandals and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly, and we like to sink our teeth into them just as much as the sandwiches. The '90s, specifically the Clinton administration, had its share of scandals, but one stands above all the rest: The Lewinsky Affair.
Bill Clinton, depending on who you talk to, was a fairly successful president who navigated his way through troubled waters for 8 years. At his peak he had a 73% approval rating, and left office with 65% of Americans saying he had done a good job, higher than any other president since Harry Truman. Even so, stories of his sexual misadventures dogged him throughout his presidency, and long after.
Allegations of sexual assault and harassment should be enough to sink any political candidate, but Clinton actually thrived under them. He was charming, relatable and the economy was beginning to take a nose dive. All those things combined led to a Clinton victory over George H.W. Bush, a rare defeat of an incumbent president.
Ironically enough, it wasn't Clinton's sexual history that would get him in to trouble, it was his loose connection with the truth. Hard to believe that a politician might almost lose his job, and go to jail, because of a lie rather than sexual assault - but that's the world we live in.
We probably wouldn't know about any of the allegations if it wasn't for a woman named Paula Jones. She was the first woman to accuse then President Clinton of improper behavior, although the encounter she described happened while he was Governor of Arkansas.
In 1991 Jones worked for the state and was present at a conference that Governor Clinton attended. She alleges that at a certain point a state police officer approached her, and informed her that Clinton wished to speak with her. She was escorted to a hotel room where she met Clinton. After the door closed he removed his pants and exposed himself, propositioning Jones for sex.
"I'm not that kind of girl," she claims to have responded before leaving the room. She says Clinton advised her to "keep it between themselves" before she left.
She did not.
In 1994 Jones went public with the allegations and launched a lawsuit against now President Clinton. The case slowly made its way through the courts, and was eventually settled in 1998. Clinton was forced to testify under oath about the incident, and was asked several questions about his sexual history. He denied any wrongdoing and the case was eventually dismissed. By that point however, the damage had been done.
One of the questions related to a 22-year-old White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, a name the world was about to hear a lot of.