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. JFK

    As usual there will be all the HATE Bloggers posting as soon as they see Clinton. Apparently people have little other to do than post hateful comments.

    April 11, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Cammi317

    No one else needs to say or do anything against Hillary, because between her lies, Bill less than helpful tyrates and comments and her advisors contradictory actions ….the campaign is sabatoging itself. This is too funny!

    April 11, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. max

    Why do people want 4 more years of this double-talk? Chelsea was with her at the time...you'd think someone would remember if their daughter was with them in sniper fire.

    April 11, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. phillydog

    What is wrong with these people?

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. PKS

    His explanation would have been believeable had she only made the sniper fire claim once instead of several times!!!

    He seems too whine a lot these days. The media just should not cover Bill or Chelsea at all.

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Peter

    Well she told the Bosnia-LIE several times. I guess she is exhausted often, how can she handle 3AM calls if she gets exhausted all the time?

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. May

    Heh Bill, Hillary narrated this Bosnia tale more than once! I think on 3 separate occasions. And she only sort of apologised when she was caught!

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Tex

    Bill, I can feel your pain, but what a clown you are you. We all knew you were a liar, but we now we find out what a liar Hillary is as well.

    She has lied about Bosnia, Penn's firing and so forth and then you top the cake trying to make it sound like she "simply got confused (probably at 3:00 AM)" about those snipers shooting at her and she and Chelsea running on the tarmac for their very lives. But Bill we have all see on TV across the country Hillary "misspeaking" on three separate occasions and it was at 3:00 PM or late at night.. Hillary just bald faced lied just as you are doing now.

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. candi

    Dear Bill Clinton:

    I am over 60 and so is my husband who experienced fire during Viet Nam. He too is over 60. He has never forgotten the facts surronding the times he was shot at. Neither of us have senior moments after 11:00 p.m.. So I must say to you and your wife we will not forget your lies and those of your wife. We will not forget your insults and clearly will not forget to vote for someone else.

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Ex-Hillary supporter

    The Clintons seem unable to use the word "lie". Bill talks about his wife's "misstatement", she lied to us. Her sniper dodging story was a fairy tale. Their arrogance and dishonesty has pervaded their campaign, it will be a sad day for the Democratic Party should they succeed in stealing the nomination.

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. SueB

    Bill said "She's 60 years old, she was tired, it was 11 o'clock at night. She mis-spoke" So, she thought she was under attack by snipers in Bosnia, Bill?!? That bodes well for a possible commander-in-chief!! But, now I understand–Cheney was tired, it was 11 o'clock at night, he could have sworn there were WMD! He called Bush and...whoosh, we're in Iraq.

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. David, Santa Maria, CA

    Wait a minute, I think Bill forgot that she had mentioned this sniper fire story mutliple times, not just whe she was "exhausted".

    And we are to believe Wesley Clark at what he says? More Clinton spin, andpeople wonder why politicians are so despised now?

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Peg

    Why would you bring the whole thing up again, Bill. Just to show us that you both can continue to lie and lie and lie......you even had the time wrong as she first made this inaccurate statement about Bosnia in the morning hours.....not at 11 pm.

    Sorry, I voted for you twice, but would not vote for you or your wife again. You've had your time in the White House and now it is really time for change. Obama isn't perfect but, too many character flaws have come to light during this election about both you and your wife. Thanks for all the great things you did in the 90's.......but we don't need all your negatives again.

    Please bow out gracefully, Hillary. Thank you.

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Stacy Clarks, TX

    ******************CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATS***********************

    OKAY, STARTING TODAY, I AM CHALLENGING EVERY OBAMA SUPPORTER, AND HILLARY SUPPORTER TO SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE OTHER CANDIDATE (YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUPPORT THEM, BUT JUST SAY SOMETHING NICE) AND FOLLOW IT BY SAYING 3 NICE THINGS ABOUT YOUR CANDIDATE, AND WHY WE SHOULD VOTE FOR THEM….(POSITIVE CAMPAIGNING)

    LET'S TURN THIS WAR WE HAVE STARTED ON EACHOTHER IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY INTO POSITIVITY!!!

    I ENCOURGAE EVERYONE WHO THINKS IT WILL BE A DETRIMENT FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO WIN TO COPY THIS POST, AND PASTE IT ON EVERY BLOG YOU WRITE ON

    LET'S GO DEMOCRATS!!! LET'S GO AMERICA!!!!!

    *******************CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATS**********************

    April 11, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Torry

    News media had to find something to keep the heat off Obama .Thats ok Karl Rove and his attack dogs will eat him alive come General Election thank you news media because my candidate
    McCain would probaly have a harder time beating a Clinton ticket .The
    GOP will swiftboat Obama and his dear preacher Wright so fast it will be a repeat of Kerry .

    April 11, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Alice in Florida

    Where's Barack's apology for his misstatements about his racist anti-American pastor? "I never heard him, umm, wait, I guess I did....."

    No apology, instead Barack makes a speech justifying his bigotry, and all the Obamabots and CNN praise him for it.

    For that matter, where's his apology for stealing my vote by hiring lawyers to block Florida and Michigan from a revote?

    I love the way all the Obamabots and CNN keep saying, "Oh, the Democratic Party will come solidly together once we crown Barack the nominee. Just wait and see."

    I hate to break it to you, but Obama is unelectable in November. Everyone I talk to says there is no way they will ever vote for him as President – they will vote for McCain if Hillary is not the nominee, and a lot of those same people were for Barack originally.

    He might win the Democratic battle, but he will definitely lose the GE war.

    April 11, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. seyi

    Penssylavannians... do us a favor! Get her out of it. She can't go forward if she loses Penn state

    April 11, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Angelo

    So we are supposed to believe that Bill, the liar, that the other liar, Hillary, did not lie?
    We have it on video Bill.
    Remember, this is like when you said you didn’t have sexual relations with that women but then we had proof that you did?
    Hillary’s and her camp had lied about Bosnia for 3 months!!! Even when Sinbad said that it was not dangerous and the only time there was a 3am type decision it was to discuss where they would go eat next.
    Hillary and her camp said that Sinbad was incorrect and they continued to lie about Bosnia. They thought, well, its Sinbad’s word against Hillary’s.
    Now we know that this was a lie all along………a 3 month long LIE
    The thing is Bill & Hillary will continue to lie to America every chance they get. Bill & Hillary think that Americans are dumb.

    April 11, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Anne

    I'm 64 and...darn, I'd remember whether or not I ever ducked sniper fire.

    Bill, you must think we are all idiots.

    April 11, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. al snyder

    If those were the conditions, how could they possible contrive to send their daughter in under those conditions? Hillary was upset when suggested they were using (pimping) their daughter, but didn't have a problem sending her in "under sniper fire". I am not sure which is worse "misspeaking" (obviously being cuaght in a lie) or the unneeded recklessness of putting a child into mortal danger, if those were to have been the conditions. Either way, they don't show very good judgement, to say the least.

    I have no problem with people defending their candidates, but some actions are undefendable and to do so with any kind of reasoning is absurd.

    April 11, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. truth be told

    The problem Bill is that she didn't only say it once...
    You should move on to better things then talking about this once more. It's a mistake on your part. Another one!

    April 11, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. lacey

    Hillary stating that she was the first First Lady to visit a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt could be considered an honest mistake. Pat Nixon had traveled to Viet Nam and/or Cambodia with her husband, but that is a fact that many people would not know or would have forgotten, so that's not a deliberate fabrication.

    However, the rest of the Bosnia story was an outright lie. Hillary didn't tell the story ONCE late at night while exhausted, she told it several times, many weeks apart.

    No one, unless he or she had suffered trauma-induced amnesia, would forget running for cover under sniper fire. As Carl Bernstein said, Hillary Clinton has difficulty telling the truth. That's not a desirable quality for a president.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Reality Check

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

    However, with Obama's lack of experience at the national level, do we want him to answer the phone at anytime during the day? I agree that we need change in DC. Obviously, there is always room for improvement there, but we need someone with the knowledge and experience at that level to make the change that is needed, not just make change for the sake of making change. It doesn't take much skill to be a bull in a china shop.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Godwin

    Everything seems to be amusing to the Clintons. Sometimes I think they need to be looking for clown job. Bill said, "Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it". If she misstate everytime she's exhausted, am sorry she can't be the President of the USA. This is the most energy sapping job in the whole world. And when did they change the definition of lying to misspoke, and now, misstate??

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. ILoveAmerica

    So now Bill Clinton is saying that Hillary just "forgot something" when she claimed to have run through an airport with her head down straight to a vehicle? Sorry, but this is not just a matter of Hillary merely "forgetting something." She knew very well that what she was describing had never happened. Hillary was not just forgetting something, she was fabricating a whole story.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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