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. Debbie,NJ

    He's either a liar, is not following his wife's campaign or he thinks the American people are stupid. Which one is it?

    April 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. sherry

    He's right. The medial blows everything up. That's no secret.

    PENN and INDIANA please show the rest of the US that only Hillary is truly ready with a plan to change things.

    VOTE HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT!

    April 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Pro-Democracy

    I strongly disagee. She has demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of what it is like for our service men, women and their families who daily face the reality that they or their loved one may be killed by sniper fire. This is beyond politics-it was just plain wrong!

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Zoe

    Bill and HIllary really deserve each other. They both are hugely self inflated and their disregard for truth, is sounding a lot like Bush and Cheney these days.

    Praying for relief from the Bushes and the Clintons, dear lord.

    April 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. NJ

    The media did overreact. There's tons of examples like this that Obama made, and are being completely ignored. I'm surprised at the overreaction. With an even-handed media, I can guarantee that Hillary would have been the clear winner by now.

    April 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Alex

    Yeah . . . except is has been proven that she "misspoke" FOUR different times. So . . . I don't think that the media overplayed it at all.

    Nice try though, Bill.

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Mike Bulmer

    "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?"

    Uh...no, I didn't see that. What I saw was Clinton vividly recalling a memory of something that supposedly happened to her during a midday press conference. She didn't admit to it being false until almost a week later, and certainly didn't apologize.

    Liars.

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Barb Canada

    I watched on CNN where they had people saying, that indeed those in the plane had been warned of sniper fire, and that it was indeed a part of what was happening on the ground in many parts of Bosnia. So in fact it was slightly misstated. When I get together with friends and family, we often have similar, yet not exact accounts of the same situation!

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Jean

    Bill Cliton should have a fact check before talking. One of Hillary's fantasy occured during the day on St Patrick Day and not at 11 at night, the year she also went to Bosnia is also wrong. And also, if Hillary's judgement can be easily impaired at 11 PM, it says something about her judgement at 3 AM. If the phone rings at 3 AM in the White House, Hillary should let it ring. Hillary can not be trusted to answer a phone call at 3 AM according to Bill.

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. steveg

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

    Uhhh, wouldn't that make her too tired to wake up at 3am and handle "that call" properly?

    May want to try another excuse.

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. ed

    Makes mistakes when tired. What about being ready at 3AM?

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. -K-

    So how many times did she misspeak about the Bosnia I think it was like 4 times was all those at 11pm, ironacally she could remeber the same issue over and over again without missing a beat. It's misspeaking if you recognize it as such, and then correct yourself. It's a lie when you tell it over and over then expect us to feel as if she misspoke after it's placed on the internet that she didn't dodge bullets, and what about Chelesa C, going along with the same story what she was speaking she was just listing to the lies and going along with it well she is what only 28 what is her/ your excuse for your little girl?

    April 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Scott ATL

    LOL... I think Bill Clinton even wants Obama to win... If he didn't he'd shut up...lol

    Keep on yack'n Bill...

    Obama08

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. seektruth

    She misspoke three times, twice were in the morning! I will never forgotten this kind of life threaten even if it did happen, this is kind of thing you never mix up.

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Frank in NY

    i mean there is not enough to say about how these clintons think that the american public is just a bunch of idiots....unfortunately they are right because there are people who are still voting for this woman and support her to the death...

    ANYONE BUT MCCAIN!!! 08

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Seriously

    Hillary didn't have conflicting relations with this lobbyist.

    She didn't.

    Hillary 08

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Debbie,NJ

    And for you Hillary whiners who think that CNN is being unfair, go to FOX news. Even thou morining Joe is republican he pumps Hillary up more than Obama. Or listen to Wolf Blitzer, he's a Hillary fan. Now the media is even.

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Theresa

    One time late one night when she was exhausted she misstated? COME ON NOW! She used the story in speaches on more than one occasion and it wasn't late at night. Are the Clinton's capable of being honest? And he's amused?

    Maybe Hillary's new face is the one of amusement. She was sure amused during her little cackle about Bill's $800k paycheck. There is absolutely nothing funny about the way she is running her campaign!

    Let me ask the mothers and fathers out here. If your child walked into sniper fire would you forget the details? I wouldn't...

    Clinton=Lies

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Tough woman

    Clintons surely do have a thick skin.

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. CR

    I don't want someone who is exhausted answering the phone at 3AM and mis-speaking!

    This recent "spin" from Bill and Hillary is so typical of them and what is just plain sad about these two brilliant people.

    I will NOT be voting for Hillary.

    April 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Debby

    Oh I agree with Bill Clinton. What the media forgets to tell you is why she was there in the first place, it was to visit the troops and the wounded in a military hospital. This takes prescence over a jazzed up story about their landing anyday.

    Of course CNN won't print this part.

    April 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Kate

    "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."

    If, at 11pm, she can't remember whether or not there were snipers firing on her and her daughter, then how can we really expect her to answer a simple phone call at 3am?

    April 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. RushBabie

    Bill always thinks the reaction to Clinton lies are exagerrated.

    The have been telling them for so long they tink it's ok. The international community thinks we believe it's ok because so many people still vote Democrat.

    April 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Oh! The Irony

    Why is Bill Clinton lying? It was not just one time when she claimed she was under sniper fire.

    April 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Amy

    How is she going to be ready for the 3 am red-phone call if she's that wiped out at 11pm?

    April 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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