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Which Former President Says He Sent Just Two Emails While in Office?

Updated May 16, 2024
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Hillary Clinton would undoubtedly prefer people to spend less time thinking about her email history, considering the furor that ensued from her use of a private server during her time as U.S. Secretary of State. Her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, has never had that problem.

According to an oft-repeated anecdote first mentioned by the former commander-in-chief in 2011, Bill Clinton sent just two emails while in office: one in support of U.S. troops in the Adriatic and another to John Glenn when he was orbiting the Earth aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

To be fair, the technology surrounding email wasn't entirely widespread during Clinton's two terms, especially at the start of his administration, which lasted from 1993 to 2001. In fact, the Internet consisted of just 50 sites (give or take) when Clinton's presidency began. He was the first U.S. president to utilize this new and unfamiliar method of communication. And while the president may not have sent many emails himself, the members of his staff were no strangers to them.

The full text of Clinton's email to Glenn:

"Dear John:

Thanks for your message. Hillary and I had a great time at the launch. We are very proud of you and the entire crew, and a little jealous. We can't wait for you to get home so we can have a first hand report. Meanwhile back on earth, we're having a lot of fun with your adventure. At a camp rally in Queens, I asked an 83 year old lady what she thought of your trip. She replied that it seemed like a perfectly fine thing for a young man like you to do! I hope your last few hours go well. Give my best to the rest of the crew.

Sincerely,

BILL CLINTON”

You’ve got (very little) mail:

  • Despite his slow start with email, Bill Clinton is clearly not a technophobe. The former president has an active account on X (formerly known as Twitter) that includes frequent selfies.

  • John Glenn, a former astronaut and US Senator who became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, was 77 years old when he received President Clinton’s email during his second spaceflight in October 1998.

  • White House physician Robert Darling loaned the president his Toshiba laptop for the John Glenn email, later commenting that Clinton particularly enjoyed pressing the “send” button.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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