Bill Clinton's nearly forgotten 1992 sex scandal

Story highlights

  • Scandals often wreck presidential campaigns, but Bill Clinton survived one in 1992 about an alleged affair
  • Clinton's response after Gennifer Flowers went public shows how times were changing
  • Scandals of the 1992 Clinton-Bush campaign are detailed in CNN's Original Series "Race for the White House"

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)Scandals are an integral part of the American political tradition.

Since the founding of the republic, presidential candidates have often engaged in brutal attacks against one another, digging up the dirt about sex, corruption or other kinds of allegations with the aim of tarnishing their character.
    All the way back when opponents of Andrew Jackson spread rumors that he had slept with his wife, Rachel, while she was still technically married to another man to the infamous discovery of an affair that brought down Colorado Democrat Gary Hart in 1987, scandals are as much a part of our elections as voting and rallies.
      Not all scandals are about sex