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I want to add a comment to the statement, "the end of the Cold War and the dot.com bubble gave Clinton's first term respectable economic growth". Additionally, Clinton's presidency benefited from the real estate bubble that was in full swing in the 1990s. Assuming that they were rich, homeowners spent their money right and left. Everything boomed, the tax collection was up, which contributed to the notion of a great presidency. Like any bubble, this one was bound to burst, which happened in '08. That created the notion of Bush's disastrous presidency. But there was nothing particularly special about the timing of the burst. The bubble grew for decades. It could have burst in '09 or 1999 with very different political ramifications.
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