Every new year brings debate about the most important person or event of the year. On NBC in 1999, President Bill Clinton was faced with an even more difficult question: naming the most influential person of the previous century. Clinton sat down with NBC News for a long in-depth interview in December of 1999 to mark the beginning of the new millennium, which the president said was a milestone he had always hoped he would live to see. Though he was soon to enter the final year of his presidency, Clinton spent much of the interview looking back over the landmarks of the last Century, telling Couric, "I think Americans do well when they know a little more history, when they have a sense of where we are in the flow of history." The president's thoughts were clearly still on the 'flow of history' when Couric asked him who was the most influential person of the 20th Century. Clinton turned one of his presidential predecessors: Franklin Roosevelt, who Clinton said wielded huge influence because he led the country through "massive important transitions." Watch the full clip, courtesy NBC Archives (nbcuniversalarchives.com, @NBCUArchives), below to see Clinton's analysis of Roosevelt's influence in American history, and why he thought FDR had an "heroic personality." And visit the NBC Universal Archives website for more exclusive footage, including our New Year's themed video of the week.
Video courtesy NBC Universal Archives, nbcuniversalarchives.com.