Clinton registered for the draft and received a high number (311), meaning that those whose birthdays had been drawn as numbers 1 to 310 would have to be drafted before him, making it unlikely that he would be drafted.(In fact, the highest number drafted was 195.) Colonel Eugene Holmes, the Army officer who had been involved with Clinton's ROTC application, suspected that Clinton attempted to manipulate the situation to avoid the draft and avoid serving in uniform.
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He subsequently decided not to join the ROTC, saying in a letter to the officer in charge of the program that he opposed the war, but did not think it was honorable to use ROTC, National Guard, or Reserve service to avoid serving in Vietnam.
He further stated that because he opposed the war, he would not volunteer to serve in uniform, but would subject himself to the draft, and would serve if selected only as a way "to maintain my political viability within the system".
A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.
Clinton was born and raised in Arkansas and attended Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, and Yale Law School.
I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. Clinton did not expect the second year because of the draft and he switched programs; this type of activity was common among other Rhodes Scholars from his cohort.
I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael De Bakey. Clinton has identified two influential moments in his life, both occurring in 1963, that contributed to his decision to become a public figure. He had received an offer to study at Yale Law School, Yale University, but he left early to return to the United States and did not receive a degree from Oxford.
Although legal, Clinton's actions with respect to the draft and deciding whether to serve in the military were criticized during his first presidential campaign by conservatives and some Vietnam veterans, some of whom charged that he had used Fulbright's influence to avoid military service.
Clinton's 1992 campaign manager, James Carville, successfully argued that Clinton's letter in which he declined to join the ROTC should be made public, insisting that voters, many of whom had also opposed the Vietnam War, would understand and appreciate his position. After only about a month, Clinton postponed his plans to be a coordinator for the George Mc Govern campaign for the 1972 United States presidential election in order to move in with her in California.
Aller's 1971 suicide had an influential impact on Clinton.