What Bill Clinton Really Thought Of Hillary The First Time They Met

Bill and Hillary Clinton might be one of the most prominent political couples in recent history, but the story of how they met in college is heartwarmingly down-to-earth — with a tinge of Ivy League grandeur, of course. The former President and Secretary of State, respectively, first met while attending Yale University in the early 1970s. 

Fast forward 20 years, and Bill would begin his two terms as the 42nd President of the United States — a presidency ultimately overshadowed by his affair with Monica Lewinsky despite more notable legislative accomplishments, like the passing of NAFTA and the Violence Against Women Act. Another decade and a half later, Hillary joined the presidential race for the second time in the 2016 election. 

It was during this presidential run Bill shared his version of how he and Hillary met, reminding the world that before all the ups and downs of their political career, they were two undergrads in love.

Hillary left Bill speechless after their first meeting

Former president Bill Clinton shared the romantic story at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, revealing details of his and Hillary's first encounter that hadn't previously been disclosed. Bill described Hillary as an assertive, self-assured sophomore with thick blonde hair, big glasses, and no makeup. Bill, on the other hand, was a freshman with a full beard and thick coif of curly hair that fell past his ears.

Bill recalled a specific night in the spring of 1971 when he and Hillary found themselves at the Lillian Goldman Law Library. After staring at Hillary for a while, she walked up to him and said, "If you're going to keep staring at me, and now I'm staring back, we at least ought to know each others' names. I'm Hillary Rodham. Who are you?" Her blunt introduction, Bill said, left him speechless (via PBS NewsHour). 

According to an excerpt from the book "Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal" published by Salon, the pair shared similar ambitions to change the world but with markedly different approaches. Hillary was straightforward and to the point, whereas Bill was far more inclined to use charm, friendliness, and seduction — which likely explains the roundabout way he ended up asking Hillary on their first date.

Bill's smooth moves were busted by the registration office

Bill Clinton continued his story at the DNC by describing the second time he and Hillary met, this time while in line to register for classes. "I thought I was doing pretty well until we got to the front of the line, and the registrar looked up and said, 'Bill, what are you doing here? You registered this morning!' I turned red, and she laughed that big laugh of hers," Bill recalled. 

The Salon excerpt describes the pair leaving the registrar line and walking to the Yale Art Museum to see a featured Mark Rothko exhibit only to find it closed. They both sat outside the museum, and eventually, Bill's head found its way to Hillary's shoulder — a touching collegiate love story that Bill considered the couple's first date and the start of a four-year-long courtship.

Wedding bells weren't readily ringing, however. Hillary turned down Bill's marriage proposal the first two times he asked before the pair finally married in 1975. The couple has remained together ever since, holding various political positions in their endeavors to stay committed to the ambition and drive that attracted the two to each other all those years ago at Yale University.