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. James

    Honestly, who gives a crap!!! Both of you are politics of the past, and we don’t care about the stories coming out of your lying mouths!

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Why Bother

    Thanks Bill, for bringing this gaffe back up, followed by a few gaffes of your own. Your the best campaign surrogate Barack Obama's ever had!

    Change We Can Believe In '08

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Sheila, Houston Texas

    Bill is just trying to take the focus off is 800,000.00 that he received to get a trade deal throught he has crossed his wife again to safe him self. Hillary should have left you along time ago. You have show the world who you are just lie lie lie the American people are not sleep go home Bill and take Hillary with you. Obama has not use this that tell you what type of person he is just let the Bill and Hillary show destory themsevles you do not need any help from Obama. The GOP will use this in the General election if Hillary steals the nonimation from Obama. Why are they still in the race if white women can not do no better that this type of female to run for the white house God help them. Why do they keep supporting liars with there eyes open. Do they hate a black man that bad that they will loose the White House to keep a black man out and let there family suffer for 4 more years with the GOP in charge. We need to do what best for the country . They have not held Hillary resposible for Bills treament of women but will hold Obama responsible for his Preacher words. We will be still suffering due to the same people each 4 years white women and the states in the South. Well they have our promise to leave the union.

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. chuckabee

    no such luck

    she was found out to be the person she is – more talk than action.

    such a coward

    This Republican is voting for the only candidate with any character and that is Obama

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. ami from ca

    I used to respect Bill for many good things he did as a president. I don't understand he is saying a LIE to defend a BIG LIE. Best thing for them to do is keep quiet on bosnia issue.

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Jim

    "Misstated," "misspoke." The Clintons must always travel with a thesaurus at hand to meet their demand for more palatable euphemisms for "lied." Both "misstate" and "misspeak" carry connotations of innocent error. We misspeak or misstate when we forget the facts or don't know the facts. We lie when we deliberately distort the facts, and saying you've been shot at when you haven't isn't a matter of misinterpretation, it isn't a little slip in memory. It is a lie, and the American public doesn't deserve to be lied to for another eight years.

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Do the MATH

    When I get tired I DON'T LIE. Perhaps I should be answering that phone at 3:00AM.

    Just say NO to:

    Dynasties
    Soap Operas
    Bold Faced LIES

    April 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Martha-New Jersey

    I laughed out loud when Mr. Clinton said that when you reach the age of 60 you sometimes tend to forget! Duh, if she becomes commander in cheif should we be worried! Let me see, where did I leave that red phone that has been ringing and ringing. . . .

    April 11, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Tim in Nashville

    Bill, how do you expect Hillary to be president when she can remember to tell the truth. In fact, how could you trust either one of the Clintons on anything. Money from the Columbian's, the Saudi's, there is no telling how many more lies that will come out, who's sleeping where, just not together.

    Go Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Yeah Right! Bill your say anything to swing a vote

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. peter ramsay

    If Bill Clinton says his wife at 60 gets "tired at 11pm", how effective will she be at answering that famous 3 am call?!!:)

    Surely he is making the case for someone younger??

    Peter Ramsay, UK.

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Jools

    But she made up a story (i.e., lied) to sell herself as having some dangerous foreign policy experience. No one, not even Hillary supporters, believes that she 'misspoke' or remembered the story incorrectly. She wanted to use the Bosnia experience for political ends, so she made something up on the spot to score some experience points. Bill is making a mistake even bringing this up again. They keep pushing these things even when it harms their campaign. So, in additional to the dishonesty this story demonstrates, there's also the fact that they can't capably run a campaign. Ugh!

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Rock

    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."

    Good. Now Bill, chill out.

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Mama

    Shut up Bill. Hillary is a liar just like you're a liar. She didn't misspeak, she lied! Then she called Sinbad "Just a comedian" when he called her on it. She repeated it on separate occasions and made herself into Rambo, going where you can't go because it's too dangerous. Give us a break; no one is that dumb to believe it. If she's too tired to know reality from make believe, maybe she's just too tired to be President, who knows what lack of sleep will do to her in the White House. LOL, the 3 a.m. call... is she even coherent that early in the morning? Old age is catching up to her, even you admit it Bill.

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. NH Mom

    Bill – you say it like it is. Thank you. The media has been so unfairly harsh to Sen. Clinton. Obama has received a free ride – probably because the media is scared of being called racist. They certainly have no problem being sexist though.

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Exhausted man

    Image what sort of "misstatements" she can do, should anybody ever distrub her at 3:00am.

    April 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Joshua

    Well if the press' coverage of Bosnia was a bank robbery, Obama must have murdered someone considering the inordinate amount of time they spent quoting Rev. Wright out of context.

    April 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Alexandra

    Bill what are you talking about?
    You are hurting her by more "misstatements" – she never appologised for the lie right away, she waited until the media found the actual footage of her trip to bosnia.
    Enough Clintons, Go away please!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. BillieJean in Idaho

    Even my five year old grandaughter recognizes a lie is a lie. All we can do is hope and pray the Clintons don't wind up back in the Whitehouse.

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Bill - Charlotte

    Bill…. IT was 1996… not 1995

    She told the story at least three times… not once

    She told it each time at a rally… not 11:00pm

    She and Eleanor were not the first into a war zone… Pat Nixon went to Vietnam

    Finally, Bill, "I doubt you really "got tickled!" Furious, might be a better word. Just take a few days off and go back to Columbia; make a few more speeches. My guess is you'll find someone there that will believe this mess.

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. Alonzo Demetrius

    Add to "Zoinks": You're right. If she can't think straight at 11 and tired, how could she ever make sense on a 3 AM phone call?

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. B-Dog

    I love hearing how one of the worst truth-stretchers in history says the media overreacted... kind of like in 1998 Mr. Clinton?

    End the Drama, Vote Obama '08!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. chris from Oregon

    Not just once but at least three times, she spun that story and evry time it got juicier.

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    "The media overreacted on the Bosnia flap". says Bill.
    "Acted like she robbed a bank." No. Bill, she robbed America!
    "I got tickled the other day". Bill "was amused" "She was exausted and she "she mistated", says Bill.
    "Did ya'll hear that? Oh, they blew it up." Country Bumkin Hillbilly Bill.
    Question on Bill and Hillary supporting Columbia along with Penn:
    Hillary answered, giggle, giggle, show teeth, giggle giggle, show teeth
    Giggle Giggle How can I answer a question like that? giggle, giggle
    show teeth, giggle giggle, How many angels are dancing on a pin
    head.!!!! Giggle giggle show teeth.

    April 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. BillieJean in Idaho

    Even my grandaughter recognizes a lie is a lie. Scarey to think what would happen if she answered the phone at 3am,!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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