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. Andrea

    Sorry Mr. President the media didn't get it wrong....Senator Clinton did.

    April 11, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Mike in Cali

    I wish Bill's 15 minuets were up. He did some good as president but now I find him totally irrelevant.

    April 11, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW

    well herre is is cleaning up the mess and making a bigger one

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. gary

    Here we go with the young haters. You young people should grow up ,we know its hard to do.You O.B. supporters and Clinton Haters have ruin this whole race.Why dont you read about your canidate giving a B.J. in the back of a Limo ,and taking crack cocaine.That is the kind of Leader our young want to elect. Give me a break. Talking about lies.O.B. lies over and over again and you young lost minded O.B. supporters pat him on the back and kiss his -.HRC makes a mistake and you keep the hate going.You young people are nothing but haters ,arrogant, hypocritical and twisted like your canidate O.B.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Bryant

    We all misremember things...the name of that person we met at the party, what we had for dinner last week...but sniper fire? I think if my life was actually in danger, I'd have NO problem remembering the details of that event.

    Moreover, the sniper fire never even took place! How do you "misremember" an event that never happened? You don't...it's a fabrication, and Ms. Clinton got caught.

    If this was the only time, it could be more easily forgiven, but this is part of an overall pattern of lies and exaggerations intended to make her look more "experienced" than Obama. Luckily most people who haven't drank the Hillary Kool-Aid are seeing that.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. YOU NEED TO KNOW

    Hillary didn't have to rob a bank...and yes this is more important as it speaks to her CHARACTER.

    It was a flat out Lie and she told it several times. You can only misspeak once, but you can lie over and over and over again.

    Hold Hillary accountable for what comes out of HER mouth.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. LJ Blue

    Interestingly they closed to comment section on "Obama: I would have fired Mark Penn". I guess they figured it was wasted story since Hillary can't fire Bill.
    Days after Hillary Clinton removed her chief strategist for taking $300,000 from Colombia’s government to promote a controversial trade pact she opposes, her husband the former president gets exposed for taking nearly $1 million from a Bogota group pushing for the same pact. Longtime Clinton friend and confidante Mark Penn was demoted from his prominent position after it was disclosed that he met with Colombian government officials to help promote a trade pact among U.S. lawmakers that is fiercely opposed by labor unions and the former First Lady. (It must be ok for the HUBBY because in benefits the Clinton's bank accounts.) Penn had steered Bill’s reelection campaign in 1996 and went on to become a top pollster and campaign message guru for Hillary’s 2000 Senate run.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Mike from Westchester

    President Clinton: #1 – It was at least three times. #2 – At least one was in the morning. #3 – She did not apologize for days. #4 – She said she "misspoke" when it was an obvious deliberate fabrication. #5 – There is now a clear pattern of deception.

    You guys have been reduced to lying about lying. Can we next expect Hillary to come out and mischaracterize your lie about her lie?

    The only thing that will come of the next 3 – 8 weeks of campaigning is the complete soiling of the Clinton legacy. I used to have great respect for President C and a generally positive opinion of Senator C. Now, I have very high regard for Senator Obama, but only a little respect for Bill and none for Hillary.

    I am from New York and I now do not believe I can continue to support her as Senator (I voted for her). It's a sad way to end two political careers.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. maxine, texas

    Seriously, Bill..."one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia"? Puuuleeze! She said it in recently in several speeches (three, I think it was), and it was printed in her book!! You two must think the American public is ignorant! Most of us aren't, believe it or not. There is no way either of you can spin this one. The jig is up...if some of us weren't sure about Hillary before, we darn sure are now. She's a liar, and you're a liar. Period.

    April 11, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. McCain Clinton 08

    One time? try 5 and growing

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Legare

    What kind of Fraken NAckel Bull is bill spitting now?

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Look byond

    Bill, I think you should give Obama some credit.

    He is running against three people in this race, YOURSELF, HILARY AND YOUR DAUGHTER CHELSEA.

    WOW, he must be too strong to withstand the pressure.

    I guess Obama is already grounded and ready to be the commander-in-chief.

    OR,

    You guys, including ( CNN) are waiting to DROPPED the BIG BOMSHELL AGAINST OBAMA, IN THE COMMING DAYS.

    JUST YOU WAIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Marc

    Take it easy on Hillary. So what she tells a few white lies every day. About three times a day. Lets talk about the 800,000 dollars Bill recieved from Bogata and then talking Penn into having his business lobby congress for a free-trade deal. Answer that Bill.

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    I can see form the number of responses being posted that it would appear that no one seems to care any more about what Bill or Hillary has to say.......everything they both say is rheortic......and rheortic becomes old news everytime it repeats itself.

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Billy

    Re April in Texas: Amen!

    This was originally reported in Ohio before that primary, but the national media waited until March to pick up on it.

    April 11, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. An Agnostic Democrat

    It wasn't just one time either, Slick Willy. Your lyin' offspring continued to tell the harrowing tale for days after it was disputed. To the Clintons, lying is the equivalent of breathing. No wonder they all believe each other and travel in a pack like wolves and predators.

    April 11, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Talk about DILUSIONS

    Did you SEE that. Bill Clinton just told us that Christmas comes in JULY and we are supposed to believe him because he is such a down homey guy.

    WOW is all I can say. How can a person do that with a straight face??

    April 11, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Bdiddy

    Yeah Bill that's exactly what we want the President of the Free world to be... old and forgetful. What Outstanding qualifications she posseses to be President.

    I can't believe I admired the Clintons as master politicians, their campaign is by far the most unorganized, disfunctional campaign I've seen at this level in years. What's sad is if it weren't for Obama, She would be all the Dems had....

    Incredible...

    Go Obama!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Rhonda

    Bill Clinton cannot remember intimate encounters with an intern and Hillary "vividly" remembers events that never happened. Then she goes on late night tv and jokes about it. What a complete slap in the face to all the soldiers who face sniper fire every day.

    The Clinton's are liars. I don't want a President who can remember events that never happened.

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Carol, California

    Are both Bill and Hillary completely insane? How can he make a statement like this and think people are going to believe it? I take that statement as in insult to the intelligence of the voters. WE SAW THE TAPES, BILL she flat out lied (more than once )then tried to laugh it off. When Bill was running there was no YouTube and everything else out there that captures the candidate's every move. OMG can you imagine the tapes there would be of Bill if that technology was around back then? Yikes!

    When this nominating process began so early, I thought it was a bad idea for it to drag on for so long but I was wrong. The longer these people are out there, the more we get to see their true colors. I've seen many bloggers who said they voted for Hillary in the early primaries but would not have voted for her if they knew then what they know now.

    Obama has stayed consistent while Bill and Hillary have lost all touch with reality. I hope he not only wins Pennsylvania, I hope he CRUSHES her.

    Can't wait to see her concession speech when she drops out. Let's see the smirk, Hill. And don't forget the swagger and the smug, arrogant attitude too. And then, of course, laugh it off, it's only people's lives were talking about here.

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Mike

    ObamaSupporter from Washington, you beat me to what I wanted to say lol.

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Real Change

    Oh and let me guess Bill...the media didn't cover the Rev. Wright flap enough.

    Remember when the Republicans used to call CNN the "Clinton News Network?" The Clintons and their supporters now sound like a bunch of ridiculous Republican conspiracy theorists

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. MBFLA

    I do not believe that Hillary Clinton misspoke. I believe she lied repeatedly and I'm guessing we know where she may have learned that skill. Look in the mirror, Bill.

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. RJ

    She lied. No excuse Bill.

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. joanne

    What kind of mother takes her child into a potentially life-threatening situation? I've had to protect my children by making them wear hats and mittens, but never a bulletproof flack jacket! She not only has poor judgement, but is without a conscience. OBAMA 08!

    April 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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