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. Tampa J

    "If she's so exhausted at 11:00pm, how can we trust her to answer the phone at 3am?"

    LOLOL – whoever said that above is right on point

    Florida wants Obama too!

    April 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. So Mad at Bill

    Bill went to my hometown and lied to my mother. That's pretty much what this says to me. CNN (Castrati News Network) doesn't even have the - to call it what it is. A lie.

    April 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Steve

    If you new how dangerous that trip was to be why did she take along Chelsea? Could that have been child endangerment? Stop the excuses for the lies, please!.

    April 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Maxine

    I thought she "misspoke" in a speach on St. Paddy's Day. I don't recall that being at 11 pm at night. This sure doesn't help her in the I can do the job poll. He says: 1. She was tired 2. It was 11 pm 3. she is 60 years old and her memory is going.

    Boy keep talking Bill these points can only help the campaign. LOL

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. NAVA - CANADA

    If this statement was an oversight on the part of Senator Clinton, she must catergorilcally state in which country, when & where she landed under 'sniper fire' . She is a snr.political leader, aspiring to become the president of USA and should not say things just to gain sympathy of the people but substantiate it with proof. A person of that status should not play to the gallery

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. windu

    So, when people are tired, they may say things happened to them that never happened. That's called "hallucinating."

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Mike from Westchester

    Oh, and by the way, going on Leno and making a joke about lying to the American people added insult to injury. Cackling abut Bill taking $800,000 from supporters of a trade agreement with Columbia while stating you are against it was an additional insult. Thank you for laughing in our faces – twice now.

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. voice that matters

    Thank you TR for your video link to youtube.

    There is no doubt that Hillary has bit around the bush on everything from Bosnia to accusing Obama.

    The link re-enforce my believe not to consider her in the whitehouse.

    Hillary has no credibilty and there no doubt that soo many people realized it.
    I know that there are lots of people who will support her no matter what lies and fraudulent activity she was caught on.
    I can't blame ever support her, because of the name recognition.

    Yeah the Clintons are fabricators, they will tell you what they think you will like to hear even though it is false.

    There is no law that banned telling lies, so they are getting away with all lies and exagerations.

    Well if she wins don't expect things to get better, she has to pay off her loans, bills and get herslef confortable.

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Tom

    Not clear to me why he would give this story more attention, but I'm not going to complain. I doubt it will happen, but it sure would be nice if Clinton manages to blow PA so we can get on with campaigning against McCain.

    April 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Linlo

    Yeah, Bill – cover a lie with a lie? She didn't only say it once at night when she was tired! I could forgive once, but she said it 4 or 5 different times, and once in the morning! You are both liars!

    April 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. J. McCaskill, MS

    Amen President Clinton. At least she did not sit in a church where hate was preached for twenty years, she did not meet with a terrorist family, and she has always been proud of her country (Good & Bad). President Clinton is absolutely right.

    Hillary/McCain '08'

    April 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. IRON MIKE

    BILL WOULD DO WELL TO RESIGN AND GET AWAY FROM HILARY AFTER TAKING 800K FROM SOUTH AMERICAN DEAL ON TRADE DEAL THAT HIS WIFE IS AGAINST. SEEMS TO ME HE SPEAKS OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH. OBAMA SHOULD ALSO DROP HIS MINSTER AS QUICK AS HE CAN, HE IS DEFINITELY ANTI AMERICAN AND I WOULD NOT VOTE FRO SOMEONE AFFILIATED WITH THAT TYPE OF PERSON.

    April 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. hello

    some people forgets about event happen 20 years ago and some people does not remember what his pastor is talking continuously for 20 years.

    April 11, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Jeff Schade

    Bill, you act as though she "misspoke". This was an intentional lie, and is an example of a disturbing pattern.

    She is allegedly against the "free trade" agreements which are so dear to you; Its ok for you to be against her candidacy at this point.

    So Hillary: SHAME ON YOU
    and Bill: CHILL OUT!

    April 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Thom, OH

    I tell you what, had this been known during the Ohio primaries, she would have lost.-

    April 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. JAZ

    Of course he does not understand why it was such a big deal, he thinks lying is fine.

    April 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Pennsylvania Voter

    Nah, she didn't rob a bank... Yet.

    She just lied to the American people, more than once.

    April 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Anonani

    Lordy, lordy! What next? Maybe she was coming down from Ambien and should be forgiven?

    EVERYONE? NoT!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Zoinks

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

    I thought she was bright eyed and bushy tailed all the way up to 3am?

    April 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Vote for Hillary or else... Shame on you, America.

    Hillary and Nader 2008

    April 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. Scott in Grand Rapids

    So, if she's so tired at 11:00 that she thinks people are shooting at her, how will she react when that phone rings at 3:00 AM?

    GOBAMA '08

    April 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Will

    There are 8 lies in his statement up tehre, th most egregious being that she said this only once and late at night. Sh said i sveral times, all during the day. They just can't stop lying, can they?

    April 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. walt

    "Forgetting something" is in no way equivalent to "remembering something" that never happened. Is he saying she "forgot" that she wasn't shot at?! And it wan't "one time" Bill...she's made the same statements multiple times.

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. norb

    He's right. Is is that big of a deal? By the way what did you think of the OJ Simpson story?

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    You can say she lies, lies, lies but, your examples are not worthy of being called lies. Keep saying it if you want, I know you think that by saying it over and over and over it will convince the dim whitted amoung us to believe it. That's directly out of the Republican playbook, by the way.

    Obama has had his share of misspeaks, too. I don't think they are blatant lies but, if you insist that Hillary is such a liar, I guess I can start calling Barack a liar on a number of statements he makes.

    Your continuous attacks on Hillary are baseless. Wise people understand this and small minded ones don't.

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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