William Jefferson Clinton
Bill Clinton came to politics early, but he was not exactly a "born politician." When he was a youngster, his main interests for a time were religion and music, and he toyed with the idea of making them his life work. He enjoyed going to church, sang in the choir, and liked reading the Bible; and some of his older friends thought he would make a good Baptist preacher. Others, though, were more impressed with his musical gifts and figured he was headed for a career in music. He played tenor sax for the high school band in Hot Springs, attended band camps in the summer, organized a jazz trio -- the Kingsmen -- to play at his school, received first-place ratings at state band festivals, and was offered at least one music scholarship to attend college. By his senior year, however, politics was replacing music as his abiding passion.
JFK seems to have played some part in Clinton's decision to seek fulfillment in the political world. In 1963, when he was sixteen, he attended Arkansas Boys State, a camp where young people learned about the practical workings of the American political system, and then became a delegate to Boys Nation (sponsored by the American Legion) to observe the federal government in Washington at firsthand. He toured the nation's capital, glorying in its historic sites, dined on Capitol Hill with Arkansas's celebrated Senator J. William Fulbright, and, in the most exciting happening of all, got to shake hands with President John F. Kennedy, his