April 11th, 2008
11:37 AM ET
7 years ago

Bill Clinton says media overreacted to Bosnia flap

Bill Clinton is defending his wife's Bosnia claims.
Bill Clinton is defending his wife's Bosnia claims.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton strongly defended his wife Thursday over the recent coverage surrounding her 1996 Bosnia trip claims, saying the media acted as if she'd "robbed a bank."

"I got tickled the other day, a lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me, but there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up," the former president said at a campaign event in Boonville, Indiana Thursday afternoon.

"You would have thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they carried on about this," he added. "And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night, too."

Controversy surrounded Clinton after video footage showed she did not land "under sniper fire" during her 1996 trip to Bosnia, despite making that claim on several occasions - most recently during a mid-morning address on March 17. Clinton later said she "misspoke" about the trip, and attributed the exaggerations to exhaustion.

"I have been in the public eye for many, many years, and this is something that I think happens to anybody," Clinton also said if the exaggeration which served to raise questions anew about her candor.

But speaking Thursday, Bill Clinton said his wife was justified in characterizing the landing as dangerous.

"Let me just tell you, the president of Bosnia and General Wesley Clark - who was there making peace where we'd lost three peacekeepers who had to ride on a dangerous mountain road because it was too dangerous to go the regular, safe way - both defended her because they pointed out that when her plane landed in Bosnia, she had to go up to the bulletproof part of the plane, in the front," the former President added Thursday.

"Everybody else had to put their flak jackets underneath the seat in case they got shot at. And everywhere they went they were covered by Apache helicopters. So they just abbreviated the arrival ceremony. "

Responding to the former president's comments, Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said, "Senator Clinton appreciates her husband standing up for her, but this was her mistake and she takes responsibility for it."


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Adam

    Lets have the Media look at all the things Obama has lied about. Come on CNN, fair is fair.

    April 11, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. BCNU

    I think the reported IQ of this guy (~160) is as believable as he and his wife's words.

    April 11, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Venus

    Way to go Bill – trying to keep this lie to cover your payment of $800,000 from CAFT!

    April 11, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Mike

    A liar making excusing for another liar ! ! ! Priceless . . .

    April 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Madison , PA

    Again you..!!! More Lie...? Enough is enough... All the Clinton lost their credibility... We American are not stupid...

    April 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. kp

    The media can't overreact if the Clintons stop lying to the American people.

    April 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Greg, Pennsylvania

    Hillary is a liar, period.

    April 11, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Neal

    Oh Please. This is not a slip of tongue, Bill. She lied.

    She made up a whole story. This is not even a story like what she said about the pregnant woman, where it was someone else's experience. It is her experience.

    She lied and it was exposed.

    April 11, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Neal

    If she can forget something at 11.00 PM, can she forget something when she answers the call at 3.00 AM?

    April 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Dave in Atlanta

    You know which people are always complaining that the media is against them?

    Bush and the Republicas.

    I hear Dick Cheney won't even watch any outlet besides Fox News because he feels it's the only one that presents an unbiased view. Republicans used to (and still do) call CNN the Clinton News Network.

    Blaming the media when you screw up is yet another one of the old-style political tactics that turns me off of the Clintons. I don't want to see a liberal version of Bush in the white house.

    April 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Tom

    Bill here you go again who running for president i wish you will go somewhere and relax, Just like the media overreacted Rev Jermiah Wright. This is the worst election I ever wittness. Hillary is a liar and she not to be trusted

    April 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Ann

    Oh Bill. You need to be out of the limelight for 8 years atleast. Coz thats when Hillary will have her next shot at becoming the President.

    Obama 08!

    April 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Richard

    Bill's got it right! Who cares if she misspoke about one single trip? Obama had a crazy pastor for 20 years that I'm sure we haven't heard the last of if he get's the nomination. Plus, he's lying about being free from lobyists and big donors, as written about in the Washington post today

    April 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Veronica

    The Media overracted to a lie! These poeple have no shame. Then Bill goes on to make the lie even bigger! What a mess!

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. kim nyc

    ummm wow. yes, it's true when you're tired it's easy to forget thing. But it's a WHOLE OTHER THING to make up detailed stories. A lie is a lie. Of course they can't confess or else she'll be labeled as such. I like Bill, but NO NO NO to HIll.

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Ellis, Brown University

    Oh, she misspoke because she was tired late at night?

    It was part of a set of prepared remarks. That argument holds no water.

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Julie

    I do not think this is a laughing matter. The people in the midwest are losing their jobs because of these trade deals so here is my plea…

    My Plea to Pennsylvanians

    As a Pennsylvanian you have the unique opportunity to save the Democratic Party from more bleeding and giving us the BEST chance to win the White House this Fall.

    As much as many folks feel that Obama is a strong candidate it is time to think about winning. Dragging this contest out, contrary to what some think, will not help our party or the final nominee. It will cause deeper and more severe wounds as the battle is more and more divisive.

    As an Hillary supporter, I am going to attempt to refrain from pointing out Obama's weaknesses and start talking about the issues we care about most… the economy, heath care, Iraq, etc. As long as Obama hangs on with such a tiny chance of winning, we will be talking about snips and snipes; the Rev Wright, out of context quotes, Obama's latest contradiction, and other general non-productive points.

    To truly get to contrasting what John McCain has to offer with the promise of great things from Democrats, we need to consolidate our efforts.

    I hope that Pennsylvanians will take the opportunity the vote for Hillary so we can get on with the General and beat McCain in the Fall.

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Simone

    The Clinton's are a pain in the neck. Will they give up. How can he justify Hillary's Misspoke situation. Do they not know this has already been proven? Where is Bill coming from?

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. steveg

    She did not immediately apologize, she repeated the story multiple times, which was an outright fabrication. I think if anything the press UNDER-reacted to an outright lie, especially given the tenuous relationship with the truth the current administration has.

    How can either of them expect anyone to believe this crap? I know if I were ever to encounter sniper fire, I would vividly recall when and where, and not "misspeak" about it, just as I would not mistake flowers for snipers' bullets.

    Good lord, Hillary, do you actually think we're that stupid. Apparently you do, and in many cases, you are right. Sad.

    April 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Linda. Boston, MA

    Bill stop, you're helping her to death!

    He got all kinda of facts wrong: she said it more than once, it it wasn't late at night. He also got the year wrong. And more importantly, she did NOT correct herself immediately as he said.

    And then there's this line: "And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night, too."

    So uhh.... she's getting too old to remember details correctly? So we should vote for her? Ok Bill...

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Realistic

    Bill Clinton lied about Hillary telling a whopper about the Bosnia sniper fire deal.

    The Clintons are pathological liars; always have been, always will be.

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. clmartin

    Clinton is not a liar she just forgets,"all the time".....yes we overreacted!

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. Greg, NY

    "And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night, too."

    But, she didn't forget something. She 'remembered' something. There's a difference. Especially the fact that if I was ever shot at, I know I'd remember it exactly the way it happened.

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. MovingOn

    One big problem Bill she was reading off prepared notes and did it 3 times. I know lying comes easy for you and you don't think it should matter but to the average American, integrity and honesty still matter.

    No thanks, I'll take Obama, at least he has integrity and honesty.

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Randy - Denver

    If she had told this lie the one time, late at night, I might have agreed with him but she has repeated this lie SEVERAL times, her daughter ahs repeated the lie several time.. sorry Billy boy the media has actually been VERY kind to her this entire selection process and this is just another case of them soft pedaling her lies

    April 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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