Confronted on television with his alleged history of adultery, the candidate denied the affair, but acknowledged "causing pain in my marriage."
With no more than that, we Americans decided the matter was one between the candidate and his wife — and we elected Bill Clinton the 42nd president of the United States.
That was 1992. Here we go again.
Two decades later, it seems that our obsession over the private lives of our public officials has been renewed.
I had thought that, post-Clinton, we had learned our lesson, but former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission that he fathered a child as the product of an affair with a woman who was not his wife has become a singular focus.
The Schwarzenegger news is tragic, certainly for the heartbreak its apparently causing his now-estranged wife and their children.
And Schwarzenegger's years as a Hollywood movie star before entering the governor's mansion almost certainly meant that this new marital scandal would become gossip fodder.
Let's be clear, however. That's all this news is: tabloid trash.
The birth of Schwarzenegger's "love child" took place years before he became California's 38th governor, the separation of he and his wife as a result of the affair occurred after his term had ended, and no one has suggested that the old affair or the child affected Schwarzenegger's performance as chief executive.
Further, long before this news broke, Schwarzenegger had declared that with the end of his governorship, he would seek no other elected office.
All of this means that the news of his infidelity should never have taken on a political dimension, if even it should really have been made public at all.
The fact that it's done so sends precisely the wrong message.
Public officials ought to be allowed to have a private life, provided that the conduct of that private life doesn't inhibit an official's public job.