April 11th, 2008
11:37 AM ET
15 years ago

Bill Clinton says media overreacted to Bosnia flap

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/11/art.billclinton.ap.jpg caption="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. Wake up

    Here comes ol' SLICK WILLY to try and cover up his part-time wife's BLUNDERS! LIES....

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. gary


    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Julie

    CNN post my post.

    do not think this is a laughing matter. The people in the midwest are losing their jobs because of these trade deals so here is my plea…

    My Plea to Pennsylvanians

    As a Pennsylvanian you have the unique opportunity to save the Democratic Party from more bleeding and giving us the BEST chance to win the White House this Fall.

    As much as many folks feel that Obama is a strong candidate it is time to think about winning. Dragging this contest out, contrary to what some think, will not help our party or the final nominee. It will cause deeper and more severe wounds as the battle is more and more divisive.

    As an Hillary supporter, I am going to attempt to refrain from pointing out Obama's weaknesses and start talking about the issues we care about most… the economy, heath care, Iraq, etc. As long as Obama hangs on with such a tiny chance of winning, we will be talking about snips and snipes; the Rev Wright, out of context quotes, Obama's latest contradiction, and other general non-productive points.

    To truly get to contrasting what John McCain has to offer with the promise of great things from Democrats, we need to consolidate our efforts.

    I hope that Pennsylvanians will take the opportunity the vote for Hillary so we can get on with the General and beat McCain in the Fall.

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. american

    She didnt say it once and then apologize, she said it over and over and over. Even after it came into question she was still talking about it at small stops on the campaign trail. It wasnt till the media made it bigger and the video came out that they came up with the idea that she only said it once, which is a lie, and she didnt really apologize, she said she misspoke from lack of sleep. These people are reading pre-written speeches, to think that she just says whatever is on the top of her head is ridiculous, leaves too much room for a huge mistake. Everything she says is calculated and preplanned. It could not have been lack of sleep considering these things.

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. SaintSteven

    Yea, Like were gonna believe "Slick Willy"

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. MC, in MD

    Having the American people believe that you literally risked your life, and exagerrating an incident over and over again is NOT a small thing. It's also insulting to the people who support you Hillary. I guess I'm more disappointed than anything because she didn't have to make stuff up.

    Obama '08

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. christopher

    Bill just shut up and go away. It was fine and dandy till she got caught, just like you did with Monica. BTW smart move not having daughter on the campaign trail, what happen too many questions needed to be answered and she simply said enough of this ? Yeah, nice family full of morals. When the phone rings at 3am its going to be you calling Borack asking for a cabinet position.

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Sam

    You know he is right and let me tell you something at least she went there look at Obama he did not go to any war ZONE come on people Obama is playing with you guys think for one minute his speeches his thought the way he acts you will see he never say i will do that for sure all what he said

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Give Me A Break

    Just stop it already! We're not all dumb and uninformed! We can actually fact check your comments Bill and Hillary and find out that you are in fact lying. Hillary lied about being under sniper fire. It was proven she was not at all under any attack...unless now a small 8 year old girl with flowers is considered an attack...She did not misspeak...she lied...we've all lied...but we all aren't running for President of the United States and running on a platform of "experience"...I just hate it that we are being taken for stupid! This is the age of the internet and fact checking is so easy now...So please stop it already and give me a break!

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. James

    Bill, maybe Hillary was tired once when she told Bosnia sniper story, but how do you explain her saying the same Bosnia sniper story 4 times since November 2007?

    April 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Republican turned Democrat

    I believe she has been using that story for many months to years. I hope she is not that tired. I am "tired" of hearing her period. This is another way of the "high profile " husband making a comment on his delusional "Life of Riley" the Clinton's call reality. I for one am ready for change. Real change it will not be perfect but at least it will not have connections to the Clinton or Bush family.

    DISGRACEFUL, I am ashamed for you

    April 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Kristina, Seattle

    Oh please, how do you "misspeak" about SNIPER FIRE? That's like saying you found a bomb in your mailbox, when it was really a credit card offer.

    Is this one incident akin to robbing a bank?? No of course not. But people are bothered because it points to a pattern of dishonesty, embellishment and the maniuplation of public opinion. Nobody likes a liar.

    April 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    Just another proof of the Liars in the Clinton family.

    Beside, what a great deal for American people, this Clinton family provides full service: one claims to be against free trade and the other pro. If you want somewhere in the middle, they can talk to your face about it too as long as you give them your vote!

    Hillary is UNELECTABLE! The Clintons has NO CREDIBILITY. They are UNTRUSTWORTHY!

    April 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. War & Lies


    Hillary Clinton: War, Lies, and Misjudgment

    April 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Not buying it!!!!

    Riiigggghhhhht, just like you "didn't have sexual relations with that woman." Just be glad no ones asking her to explain that $800,000, or the 10 Million dollars you guys "donated" to yourselves or how come everytime the race gets close you feel the need to remind the country that Barack is a black man?

    Obama 08'

    April 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Cindy- St. Louis

    Bill- every time you open your mouth, you continue to tarnish your own legacy!

    This is really sad.

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. SONNY

    This guy should just quit ! The Clintons ahve been telling lies for 35 years. It's just what they do, they can't help themselves.

    April 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Kel from AL

    How stupid is this? Seriously, for such a celebrated politician, you'd think Bill has more sense than this. This Bosnia "sniper fire" issue was totally over. CNN stopped reporting about it so badly that they had to resort to Obama saying "I'm not getting fresh or anything" articles.

    Now this. He thrusted this blatant lie back into the spotlight, and on top of that, he lied about 5 times in his statement. Bill and Hillary are working together to get Obama the nomination, I swear. It's not even a fair fight anymore, they make themselves look like idiots.

    Ex-president's wife or not, this is a ridiculous level of bull.

    Obama 08!

    April 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Elisabeth

    Of course. Everybody have overreacted.

    April 11, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. Fabienne

    Exactly, If she was exhausted at 11PM to the point of saying the exact contrary of waht really happend, wha will she say when she will answer the call at 3 AM?

    Come on Bill, you think we are stupid or waht? Stop insulting our intelligence!!!


    April 11, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Kathy

    The Bosnia contraversy was not a slip of a tongue....she recounted the events of it with such conviction...she described it with such detail and emphasis....give me break!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Tyler in Raleigh, NC

    I think Bill Clinton "mis-spoke" becuase he was "sleep-deprived" as well. Because Hillary did not LIE just ONCE, she said the story several times. She also did not correct herself immediately, she waited until the media called her on her LIE to say she "mis-spoke".

    He basically just said she is too old, tired and confused to be trusted with remembering the truth. I guess the same applies to him back in the 90's when he wagged his finger at us and told us what he did and did not do.

    If she is "sleep-deprived" at 11 PM while campaigning to be President, what will she do at 3 AM if she was President????? Mis-speak and have snipers take out upset Americans who lost their homes becaue she sent their job to Colombia and forced them to buy healthcare?

    April 11, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Ryan

    Please! Bill is now outright lying about the situation! It wasn't one time late at night, it was several times over the course of the entire campaign. And she didn't immediately apologize, she didn't say anything about it until she was caught and then she still didn't even apologize. Man I'm losing respect for Bill Clinton pretty fast here.

    April 11, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Leanna Bull

    Why does he think people overreacted? What about Rev Wright story?
    Do you, Bill Clinton think they overreacted? Her comment didn't get nearly as much publicity!! It well could have, hearing that she keeps making misstatements on a weekly basis without finding out the facts first. Then blowing her own events out of proportion. She stated that "I made 1 mistake in 12 years" Not true Hillary. Bill shoul really keep his mouth shut. He keeps putting his foot in it. Let her run her own campaign. Be glad people aren't bring up your infidelities @ this time on a basis other than questioning your daughter!!!
    Was Sen Clinton trying to run your White House??
    Pro for Obama!!

    April 11, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. KL from Philadelphia

    President Bill is erasing my memory of all the good things that happened during his presidency and post-presidency. Everytime he speaks or is tickled about how everyone is carrying on, I remember don't ask, don't tell, the Lewitsky lie, the Obama fairytale, the Jesse Jackson comparison, etc.

    April 11, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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