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. txpoodoo

    I wonder what kind of "flap" she would make at 3am in the morning then?

    April 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Armand Johnston

    Bill obviously will support Hillary on any front, even if she mis-spoke. The story wasn't blown out, it was revealing the truth about Hillary Clinton's campaign. It is o.k. for her to mis-speak but no one else in the campaign can do the same. I think it was such an egregious act on her part to use the Bosnia trip as a qualifying point in Foreign Affairs. I being a Combat Veteran of the Iraq war knows what flying into hot airspace is or flying above Baghdad in a Blackhawk. It is not a laughing or lieing matter. Where was Hillary's body armor or kevlar helmet?

    April 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. k mccarthy phillipsburg nj

    Does President Clinton think we are all stupid? No, Sen. Clinton did not rob a Bank. She made up a fairy tale to make the Ameican people think she was some brave commando under sniper fire and to embellish her foreign policy experience. One of her ads says she has "been to" 81 foreign countries. Based on that my 74 year old mother should be President. This issue speaks once again to the Clinton's credibility. I don't care how tired or how old you are you would remember whether somone is shooting at you or not.
    We have had someone who does not tell the truth in the White House for the past 16 years. Do we need another one? Character counts.

    April 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. oh really?

    The media made a big ol' hairy deal out of something she said, SEVERAL times in her campaign? The media quoted her fully, IN CONTEXT, about this phantom, invisible sniper? Really?

    Then they showed a video of it, almost in it's entirety, for a couple of days? Oh, the injustice-

    Maybe if our Fair and Balanced Bastions of Truth had taken snippets of her comments, completely devoid of context of course, and mashed them together into a 30 second clip, and repeated them, over and over, in the liberal AND conservative media, then maybe the Clintons wouldn't have so much to complain about.

    But the media would NEVER do something like that.

    April 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Margaret-from Erie, PA

    Please pennsylvania...Put us out of our misery by sending the CLINTONS back to New York. Enough is Enough. Every single time I see either hillary or bill I get nauseated.

    April 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. TARRY

    obama remindes me of jimmy carter to many peanuts will have 4 more years of do nothing no change seen

    April 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. radster

    Never mind the fact that she said the same things three or four times, the last and best one at 9am in the morning, off of a prepared speech.

    April 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. MW Los Angeles

    Bill,
    She didn't immediately apologize; she tried to keep the lie going...when caught she then said she misspoke! No, she lied Bill. If she were tired one night and said it once, I would give the benefit...but she did and it wasn't. Same as the contradiction of the Colombia free trade agreement mess. Hillary Clinton thinks we American's are not as smart as she and her husband. So they try to reflect the focus on others when caught or us their sad laughs to deflect any and all questions. If she is so against the trade, why did she accept the funds? And oh yes, let's not forget she used her own money when da crap hit the fan, was that from the $800,000 her husband earned in 2005 giving speeches for a Bogota-based group that supports the Colombia free trade agreement? If she were so adamant about something why then did she not talk with her husband about it and why did he accept the money? Cause of who they REALLY are.

    I don't want someone like that for President, nor do they need to answer the phone at 3:00 AM exhausted.

    Former Clinton supporter (Mainly because like most we thought it would get Bill back in the White House. But after all that I've learned about the two of them now I would never want them in office again. Note: The Monica mess has nothing to do with my reason to change who I am supporting)

    OBAMA 08 all the way!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Kno

    Actually, this was part of her stump speech...there are multiple YouTube videos of her making this claim on at least 3 seperate occasions, not just one. Anyone can do the search.

    This was no misstatement...and she didn't "immediately apologize", she laughed it off.

    I used to like the Clintons but these people are not honest, at all.

    April 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Really?

    Please. She told this story repeatedly on the campaign trail. In hindsight, it made no sense: who sends the First Lady into harm's way? And what mother recklessly takes her daughter with her? As usual with President Clinton, there's no personal resposibility, it's just someone else's fault (in this case, the media's). Go away, Bill . . . every time you open your mouth these days you just hurt your wife more.

    April 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. jay dee

    Lies, because she's 60 and its 11:00pm ?Way past her bed-bed time? Come on Willy> She wants to be President and can't function after 11pm?

    April 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. Nancy

    Bill said it was late at nite, she was exhausted and misspoke...and she wants to answer the phone at 3AM. I think not

    April 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. TJ

    Media over reacted?

    Over reaction is the least one can do upon hearing a made up story by a person who claims to have an experience.

    This Bill guy needs to chill, before he completely destroys his reputation. I am beginning to look at him as a street boy.

    April 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Honest Abe

    All we asked for was 'Honesty' – The Clinton's can't offer us that at all. Her entire campaign has been contradictory and full of lies! The Obama Supporter from Washington made an excellent point... "If she's exhausted at 11pm, how can we trust her to make the right decision 4 hrs. later".
    Quit ALREADY!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. PA

    It is amazing how stupid he thinks voters are!! Are we suppose to believe this? There are at least three times she has told this story over two monthes. Come on, we are not STUPID!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Scott

    Again, more lies. She said "I clearly remember......" and she said it four times, emphatically. She used the whole made up story to "prove" her foreign relations credits. That's why a lie like that is important Bill....duuuuuh! Why are Clintonites so rabidly loyal, and cannot see throught this nonsense. If Barack or McCain lied like that the Clintons would be screaming bloody murder. Will you people wake up and realize the Clintons have never cared about the American Public or the Democratic Party, only their own "legacy". They say whatever it takes. For the love of god, wake up people.

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Veterans for Obama

    It was n't one time Bill, it was numerous times.

    How can anyone believe anything Hill and Bill say.

    THEY ARE LIARS!

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Jack, Michigan

    The problem was not Hillary's memory as Bill claims. It wasn't that she forgot she was in Bosnia. The problem is that the story she told was totally imagined or fabricated. If it was imagined, she's delusional. If it was fabricated, she's lying. Either explanation makes her unfit to answer the phone at 3AM.

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Disenfranchised,Fl

    Anyone notice the lie "it was ONE TIME late at night". Is that what we can expect to hear every time they open their mouth?

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. T'Shaka

    even if you're extremely exhausted, you would remember if you were under sniper fire, running and ducking for you life. the gamesmanship is obvious.

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. d

    The real problem here is that she lied, she knew she was lying, period!!!! When doesn't Hillary NOT LIE it seems. More and more lies developing every single day. Do we really WANT A LIER IN THE WHITE HOUSE????? And she and Obama are going to put on a discussion about morals and v alues??? Get real!!!!!!!!!! Neither deserves the White House in my humble opinion. We need NEW LEADERS, ones who have NOT been brought up through our corrupted political process.

    April 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Ruby in Seattle

    Sounds like he's telling us she had a "senior moment." What else can be expected to be forgotten when you're 60?

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Dee

    Yeah, except for the fact that she first mentioned the Bosnia sniper story at a campaign stop in January, and continued to use it right up until she was caught at it. Even the comedian Sinbad, who was on the trip with her, spoke up earlier, saying, “I think the only ‘red phone’ moment was: Do we eat here or at the next place?”
    So to say that it was a miss-speak, or a one-time accident, is just a lie.

    Also, when WAS she ever dealing with sniper fire, that she could make that error and say it was in Bosnia??

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Cole Crankshaw

    It's a good thing the stock market closes in the afternoon, otherwise I'd be worried she might have a slip of judgment during a 3 a.m. economic crisis.

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Jenny from IN

    I don't know about you, but being tired does not make my past memories into elaborate episodes of "24".

    OBAMA '08

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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