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"This chapter considers two distinct yet related issues: First, we examine the role that continuing press coverage of a former president plays in the development of a presidential legacy; and second, we consider the impact of Clinton’s lingering presence in the news media in the first year after he left office and how that has shaped the early phase of his legacy. While the historical rankings and public approval ratings of former presidents can and do shift—sometimes dramatically—in the years after leaving office, news coverage during the first year can be important in setting a tone as to how the president will be viewed and the public role that he will assume, as well as what news organizations view as significant from his time in office. A recent study on press coverage of former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush suggests that the amount of post-White House coverage decreases after the first year out of office; once both the press and the public are satisfied in knowing how the former president is adjusting to his new responsibilities, then he is no longer viewed as tremendously newsworthy. Therefore, the first year of coverage is important if the former president hopes to create positive coverage through his public activities by working 'toward the goals in which he believes in the hopes of drawing both media and public attention . . . [since] an ex-president with a rigorous agenda is bound to capture more media attention than one with a less rigorous postpresidential schedule.'"



Publication Date



State University of New York Press


Albany, NY


Bill Clinton, President, legacy, news coverage, media


Communication | Mass Communication | President/Executive Department | Social Influence and Political Communication


In Lori Cox Han and Diane J. Heith (Eds.), In the Public Domain: Presidents and the Challenge of Public Leadership. Dr. Han's chapter begins on page 227.

Peer Reviewed



State University of New York Press

Life After the White House: The Public Post-Presidency and the Development of Presidential Legacies



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