All the president's women (and a few more that you might not have heard about yet)

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He wants the world to remember his remarkable upbringing in Arkansas, his dazzling ascent to the presidency, the great economic boom of the 1990s and his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and Ireland. But the world, in its tiresomely prurient fashion, is not treating Bill Clinton's mega-selling autobiography quite as its author intends.

He wants the world to remember his remarkable upbringing in Arkansas, his dazzling ascent to the presidency, the great economic boom of the 1990s and his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and Ireland. But the world, in its tiresomely prurient fashion, is not treating Bill Clinton's mega-selling autobiography quite as its author intends.

Mr Clinton's colourful extramarital life, and the women who have featured in it, account for just a handful of the volume's 957 pages - but the vast bulk of the unanswered questions. Bill Clinton was and remains the rock star of world politics. One or two of the women who helped to give him that allure have become household names, but the majority have faded from view.

Talk about Mr Clinton's appetite for the ladies was rife in Arkansas in the 1980s. The promising young governor, whose sights even then were assumed to be set on the presidency, had a "zipper problem," it was muttered in the political circles of Washington.

Indeed, Mr Clinton passed on the 1988 presidential race for that very reason. When he did run, in 1992, Betsey Wright, one of his most trusted advisers, was given the explicit task of controlling "bimbo eruptions". And erupt they did.

The first was Gennifer Flowers, an obscure Little Rock nightclub singer, thrust into fame, when a supermarket tabloid published transcripts of intimate phone conversations between herself and the governor. Ms Flowers claimed that she had had a 12-year affair with Mr Clinton: "Did the Governor wear a condom?" one shameless reporter yelled at a press conference she gave in New York.

Ms Flowers, now married to a stockbroker, currently owns a nightclub in New Orleans, just a few yards from the notorious Bourbon Street, where most nights of the week she is the main attraction.

In any case, that first bimbo eruption was contained. Bill and Hillary appeared on CBS's Sixty Minutes programme in January 1992 to tell America that their marriage had not been perfect, but that they had stuck together and weathered the storm. Gennifer Flowers was quickly forgotten, and nine months later Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President.

Over the years various other of Mr Clinton's alleged paramours briefly made the news. The most damaging of them by far - at least until the emergence of Monica Lewinsky - was the case of Paula Jones. Now 38 and the divorced mother of two children, she was once an Arkansas state employee who claims to have been taken in May 1991 to a hotel room at the Excelsior hotel in Little Rock where, she says, the governor exposed himself and crudely propositioned her.

Ms Jones, embarrassed, turned down the offer, saying: "I'm not that kind of girl."

She said nothing about the incident until a 1994 article in the conservative magazine The American Spectator depicted her as one of Mr Clinton's willing girlfriends. Encouraged by right-wing opponents of the president, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit. After a protracted legal battle, the case was eventually settled for $850,000 (£470,000) of which she saw just $201,000. The case led to the Monica Lewinsky affair, which resulted in him becoming the first president in 130 years formally to be impeached.

It was not just the tawdry details that were seized upon once news of the relationship with Ms Lewinsky, a 24-year-old White House intern, emerged - the cigars, the semen stain on the blue dress - that gave the affair such oxygen: Mr Clinton's lies and deceptions, including the famous, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman", ensured that his reputation has been forever be tarnished in the view of many Americans.

The affair became public because a supposed friend of Ms Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, kept tapes of their conversations in which the relationship and Mr Clinton's efforts to cover it up were discussed. Ms Tripp spoke to some journalists about the tapes and before long Ms Lewinsky was subpoenaed by lawyers acting for Ms Jones, who was suing Clinton. Under oath, Ms Lewinsky denied the affair but Ms Tripp handed the tapes to the special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, and case was incorporated into his catch-all Whitewater investigation. .

In his book, Clinton says the relationship was "immoral and foolish" and that he was deeply ashamed of what he had done. He lied, he said, because he was "trying to protect my family and myself from my selfish stupidity".

Ms Lewinsky says that she feels betrayed by Mr Clinton's refusal to acknowledge that he "destroyed" her life. There is no sign, however, that Mr Clinton is willing to do anything to ease Ms Lewinsky's pain. In his book he does not even use the word "relationship" when talking about her. Instead, on page 773, he talks of an "inappropriate encounter".

THE THREE WHO MADE WORLD HEADLINES

Gennifer Flowers

The television reporter-turned nightclub singer from Arkansas, who now owns a club in New Orleans' French Quarter, says her relationship with Mr Clinton lasted 12 years. He says the affair was one he "should not have had" but denies that it lasted so long. The scandal broke at the end of 1991 as Mr Clinton was running for the presidency. She is only willing to talk about Mr Clinton's book if she is paid.

Monica Lewinsky

Since her rise to notoriety, Ms Lewinsky has tried several times to reinvent herself, working as a designer of her own-label handbags and presenting the television show 'Mr Personality'. She has also made various efforts to present her side of the affair, including the 1999 book 'Monica's Story', written in collaboration with the journalist Andrew Morton. Her desire to give her side of events has undermined her proclaimed desire to keep a low profile.

Paula Jones

The Arkansas state employee says Mr Clinton exposed himself to her in a motel room in Little Rock. Mr Clinton said she was a political opportunist who falsely accused him. He paid her a $850,000 settlement in a case he said he would have won in court. Mr Clinton said this was so he could get back to work for the American people and did not have to spend "five more minutes" on the case. By then his lawyers had spent four years on it.

... AND THE ONES THAT DIDN'T

Kathleen Willey White House aide.

She says: Clinton sexually assaulted her at a meeting in 1993. She testified under oath that Clinton was "very forceful".

He says: In his book, Clinton describes her as a "sad" liar who became part of the conservative "conspiracy" against him. He has never fully explained why he would have been interviewing Ms Willey, who was applying for a relatively lowly job.

Dolly Kyle-Browning Real estate lawyer.

She says: A former high-school classmate of Clinton, she claims she had an on-off affair with him for 30 years.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Sally Perdue Former Miss Arkansas

She says: She had a four-month affair with Clinton in 1983.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Connie Hamzy Self-proclaimed groupie

She says: Clinton propositioned her at a Little Rock hotel in 1984.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Bobbie Ann Williams Former prostitute.

She says: Clinton fathered a child by her when he was governor of Arkansas.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Juanita Broaddrick Campaign volunteer.

She says: Clinton raped her in 1978 at a conference in Little Rock.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Eileen Wellstone British student

She says: Clinton assaulted her in 1969 when they were students at Oxford University.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Christy Zercher Airline attendant

She says: Clinton exposed himself and grabbed her breasts in 1992

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Sandra Allen James Former Washington-based political fundraiser

She says: Clinton invited her to his hotel room in 1991, pinned her against the wall and put his hand under her dress.

He says: Not mentioned in the book.

Plus

Three other women - former Miss Arkansas Lencola Sullivan, former Miss America Elizabeth Ward and press aide Susie Whitacre - were identified as having had affairs with Clinton while he was governor in a lawsuit brought by a former state employee. You guessed it: the case is not mentioned in the book.

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