April 11th, 2008
11:37 AM ET
6 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. Mark, MI

    If she is too tired at this point to remember something that happened in her life, then how can we trust her not to be too tired for the next four years running our country.... I'm a Clinton supporter because I do not like or trust Obama and am a democrat... but I am beginning to see no other option other than John McCain... I need a president I can trust, not just one I can agree with.

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. True Independent, MD

    Are you kidding me?

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. JJT

    I actually think Bill hits the nail on the head here. Anyone who is in their older years seems to have no problem stretching the truth where it benefits their goals. These are people who have convinced themselves their versions of reality are right because they have been speaking the same points of view for so long.

    This is the trade off for 'experience'. Hillary is experienced in telling the same exagerations over time. She is experienced at having affiliations with other experienced people. Experience, experience, experience...

    I'd like to experience something fresh that hasn't been wrapped in mis-truths and surrounded by old blood for decades...

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Kathleen

    It's really sad how the Clintons seem to take voters for granted. They think voters are very naive. and will believe everything they say because after all, they are the Clintons. This is a huge mistake.

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. proud army and navy mom

    she lied more than once about Bosnia and it wasn't late at night, it was at 11 a.m. He says a 60 year old woman mis-remembered. Bill is a joke. only thing, he's not funny

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Rick from NJ

    Obama supporters are so bitter. I hope that they are not a sign of the times to come.

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Ree

    Bill, your wife did not rob a bank she robbed the truth. What about Peter Paul?

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. DJ

    TR...all politicians lie. Grow up kid. What we need is a winner. Obama is a loser.

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Ryan, Los Angeles

    It wasn't the press' reaction to that one lie Bill...it was because it was only the latest lie in a series of lies...worst ever.

    Of course, I'd still support her over McCain in the general election should Obama lose the primary.

    Obama OR Hillary '08!!

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. JA Cook

    Ha, Ha, Ha... a repeated lie to exaggerate experience.

    Ha, Ha, Ha... it's 3 AM and the phone is ringing and we're sleep deprived liars

    Ha, Ha, Ha... $800,000.00 from Columbia to hire my influence.

    Ha, Ha, Ha... will I ever be making the BIG money if I can get her elected.

    April 11, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Saad from NJ

    When you compare the Bosnia Trip screw up to Iraq and the works and stories and lies of Rumsfeld and Cheney, YES INDEED, Bill is right... media overreacted to the story. Bosnia lie was equal to a drop of water in the ocean... ocean being the lies of the two mentioned above when you measure the consequential damage to our nation.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Anna, SW Missouri

    I don't know what parallel universe the Clinton's are living in, but my guess is that it is one that is still debating what the meaning of "is" is.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Mike, Iowa

    OVERREACTED, MY FOOT! She didn't just spout this stuff once, but on NUMEROUS occasions! It's no overreaction to point out somebody's repeated lies.

    Tell Hillary to take a nap before she gets those phone calls about foreclosures; who knows *what* she'll say!

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Charlie

    She didn't misspeak once, Bill...she repeated her lie on four separate occasions. Nor did she immediately apologize; she waited until she was caught in her lie. We've had a liar in the White House for the past eight years and I've had enough of it. Sorry Hillary, you're just more of the same.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Holly in Scranton PA

    She has officially lost my vote. One lie after another, when does it stop. As a Clinton supporter, I cannot in good faith cast my vote for the Clinton's who are hell bent of unestimating the intelligence of the American people.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. miss belief

    she mispoke this same story a number of times. was she sleep deprived all the time? her version of reality does not line up with facts on this and on basically everything else she uses to promote herself.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Kevin

    Yeah, Bill knows a thing or two about "misspeaking."

    And again saying that it happened because she was sleepy? What happened to her being able to make wise choices at 3am?

    I'm glad this continues to be laughable for the Clintons. I'm sure that will help them win votes from people who have actually been shot at...on a daily basis...in defense of the country...many of whom have been killed. Pretty funny!

    Blown out of proportion? I don't think so, Bill.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. moeen

    and the witness defending Hillay's Bosnia story is.....

    ....none other than the BIGGEST SCANDALOUS STRAIGH FACED PATHOLOGICAL LIER of our recent history (I didn't have an s...rel with that woman).

    This is the greates example of "A STRAIGHT FACED PATHOLOGICAL LIER DEFENDING ANOTHER "

    April 11, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Matt Cleveland

    i find it hilarious that the media overreacts to clinton flat out lieing but its ok to attack obama for every little thing he says or does

    especially after billys "kitchen sink" comments

    the clintons sure can dish it out but they cannot take it

    April 11, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. MT

    Atleast Bill told a truth ..."And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night"
    she is senile and lethargic...

    April 11, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. John Adkisson

    My, my Bill. She made a mistake late at night? (noon) Anyone can misspeak? (oh, yes, I recall speaking to space aliens.) She only said it once? (try several times.) It's because she's 60 and it's 11 pm? (oops, what if it had been 3am?)

    I've always been against NAFTA? (Goodness, I am just getting more confused.)

    April 11, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. ***AMERICAN***

    Just one clinton covering for the other!

    April 11, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. "Keeping it real"

    If it were not so sad it'd be funny. To think that one of the biggest proven liars to ever set foot on the national political stage would have the nerve to go before people knowing that what he said would get national coverage and lie to try and cover a repeated lie is simply beyond rationale. As I've said before it's time to stop this insanity.

    April 11, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Bill

    The bigger question is: Did Hillary ever have an experience such as she attributed to Bosnia? Was she ever under the threat of hostile fire? If so, when and where? If not, it truly is a totally self manufactured story such as others to say anything to win votes.

    April 11, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. Tony in NM

    if lack of sleep is the reason she "misspoke"

    not just once, but several times over the course of several days as news footage shows (unlike what bill claims in his remarks above)

    and if 11p.m. is such a late hour, What on earth will she do at 3a.m. when there is a REAL crisis in the world ?? -one that may be ongoing and causing her to lose sleep for nights on end

    seems to me that the most reasonable interpretation of what happened is that she LIED. -for personal gain and at the expense of 4,000 soldiers who have now died in the war she authorized george bush to wage

    the clintons are sick

    April 11, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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