Clinton's Top Aide: A Banker to Watch

By Garsson, Robert M. | American Banker, February 25, 1992 | Go to article overview

Clinton's Top Aide: A Banker to Watch


Garsson, Robert M., American Banker


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Retired banker William Bowen arrived home from a cruise vacation one day last September to find a message from the governor's mansion. Within an hour, he had agreed to serve as chief of staff to Gov. Bill Clinton.

It was the beginning of a much different life than the one he had known as chairman and chief executive officer of First Commercial Corp., a $2.3 billion-asset bank holding company here.

Part of the Inner Circle

But the 68-year-old banker is adapting so quickly that observers of Arkansas politics say he is an obvious candidate for a Washington post should Mr. Clinton win the presidency in the fall.

Mr. Bowen is hardly the only banker in the state backing Mr. Clinton's presidential bid. After a decade in power, Mr. Clinton has built support among Arkansas business leaders, including top officers at Worthen Trust Co.

Mr. Bowen has known the governor sicne 1974, when he backed Mr. Clinton's unsuccessful bid for Congress. The two men grew close over the years. Mr. Bowen advised the governor on banking issues and raised money for his campaigns.

His retirement from the bank in 1990 came at just the right time for Mr. Clinton, who needed someone to help mind the statehouse while he campaigns.

"He's a businessman, and the governor was anxious to have a businessman in that office," said Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, a friend of both men. "He's also unquestionably loyal to, and a part of the Clinton political family."

Mr. Bowen is a gracious and courtly man, with thinning gray hair and flinty blue eyes. Those who know him say he arouses strong feelings in people - not always favorable ones.

"People either love him or hate him," said a banker who has known him for years. "He is tenacious and he can be manipulative."

Admiration Is Mutual

"He can be very personable and diplomatic," said Mr. Tucker. "But he can also be mean as a snake. He's a capable trial lawyer and a ferocious competitor."

Friends of the two say the bond between Mr. Bowen and Mr. Clinton is deep. One banker recalls the governor saying the was "crazy" about Mr. Bowen.

Mr. Bowen, in turn, said he was attracted to Mr. Clinton immediately. "His education is uncommon, and he obviously was very bright," he recalled of his first meeting with Mr. Clinton.

"I was very plased for the state that we had that kind of talent interested in public service."

His admiration for Mr. Clinton increased in 1979 when he was an officer in the state bankers association and Mr. Clinton was a first-term governor. Interest rates had begun to spiral upward, and Arkansas had a provision in its constitution, dating from Reconstruction, that flatly prohibited interest rates above 10%. A federal preemption was in place, but it was due to expire in three years.

An Unpopular Stand

"We were at a state bankers' association convention, and I remember, there was Bill Clinton, bravely out front, endorsing a modification of the state usury ceiling," Mr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Clinton's Top Aide: A Banker to Watch
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.