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. Willis Portland OR

    bill your telling a lie to defend a lie. hilliary did tell the story THREE times, she even belittled Sinbad's accurate account in defending her "mistament" , and it wasn't until the vid was realesaed until she "corrected" her story. Are the clintons really this arrogant to think that the american public is this stupid, what are you doing bill? To all the clintons supporters left: Why do you want to vote for a canidate that thinks your i.q. is less then 80?

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Media did overreact......they always do with Hillary.....get over it......
    Why don't you cover the multitude of lies BO states on the campaign trail....in his books....in interviews...... HMMM????

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Bacusla

    For some people telling a LIE is as easy as taking a breathing ... if not involuntary ...did I mention compulsive?

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Nowhere Man

    Over-reacted to a lie? How dare we question the great Bill and Hillary Clinton? She lied, Bill. Not once about this, but many times. They are an arrogant and despicable couple.

    Obama '08!

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. Eric-PA

    I find it amazing that the media didn't play video of the fromer Secretary of the Army, Togo West, talking about the incident during a press conference with Hillary. He explains how he told Hillary there were reports of sniper fire and that he wanted her to run and duck due to the dangerous environment. Everything turned out just fine, although they did have to cut short a greeting ceremony. Some of the footage of her with celebrities was taken at later events. The most dangerous part of that mission was the landing. In summary, although there was no sniper fire directed at Hillary, there were reports of sniper fire in the area and they were told it could be a dangerous situation and to take the proper precautions in the event of danger. Lastly, the media didn't point out that Sinbad, the comedian who criticized Hillary's account of the event, has publicly announced his support for Obama, so there is likely some bias there.

    April 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Kno

    She didn't tell this story just once, she told it multiple times...including Feb. 29th in Waco, Texas in the middle of the daytime.

    Search the net for "Clinton Told Sniper Fire Tale on Feb 29".

    The Clintons are not honest people.

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Counting Down

    I just wonder what would happen if Michelle Obama were trying to cover for her spouse if he were caught in a lie. The Clintons would be up in arms and talking about it non stop and their surrogates. I guess when you're a former president you have a license to say anything.

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Ryan

    I wonder how he would explain the fact the most recent time she made these comments it was the middle of the morning, not 11 at night.... and a misstatement is using the wrong word, or calling someone by the wrong name....being tired doesn't generally lead one to fabricate entire tales of danger and adventure....pathetic

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Karen in Cape Cod

    Let this go...the way the press has with Obama's minister!

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Dale Wise

    If she can't remember something like that at 11pm because she's too tired, then how the hell is she going to make intellgent decisions about a crisis at 3 am?

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Frank, Missouri

    Fight lies with more lies ... I hope the media won't let that sit on them ! Call it as you see it and keep them honest – that's a lot of work with the Billaries !

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Olivia

    Hillary has my total trust, 3am or 24 hrs a day.

    Go to the article on this blog titled "I would have fired Mark Penn" by Obama. Now.....take a close look at the picture there of Obama.


    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Angel

    Wow this campaign has made me see how the Clinton's lie...
    Now I guess he is trying to repair his legacy ..........so people don't remember his wife's lies......and laugh....

    1) Bill Misspoke about this Bosnia thing.....
    2) Bosnia trip was in 1996 NOT 1995
    3) Hillary makes this Bosnia statement thing 3 "Times"
    4) Hillary did not speak at night BUT in the morning
    4) She did not apologize for this immediately; it was after a week when the media picked up on it.

    Him taking about it makes it seem as if this Bosnia thing hurt Hillary. He should have not brought this up......it was fading away.....

    I used to love Bill Clinton and still do, however, this campaign is making me see him in a different light.....and I don't like it....

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Concerned Dem

    What I'm curious to know was it another trip she was on and she got the trips mixed up or what, not. She captured my attention when she was telling the story and went on and on about how everything really occured. She told one of those type stories that make you say wow, girl really.....

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. maynard


    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Mike the Independent from Ohio

    Well said "Obama Supporter from Washington", do we really want a president that is going to be exausted at 11 and during a crisis may "misremember" something. What a joke, the Clintons are nothing more than liars and are shinning examples of what's wrong with America. Also, if she cares so much about poverty, why doesn't she use some of their 100 million they've earned over the past few years to support some charity's other than their own, because they would not get the tax breaks.

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Angus McDugan

    Right Bill... It was just a lie and we know your record that. Your messages are as credible as Hillariy's.

    April 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Ozy, Beth, Asley, Maggie, Angie

    The reality of Clintons is power obsessed, deceits, greed, overcharged speeches, illegal trades, hypocrisy, arrogance, cynical, sarcasm, bag of lies.. ha! ha! ha! those fools actually vote for HRC??

    April 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. April in Texas

    Bill do yourself, america and your wife a favor and "Chill Out" They reported it then you turn around and miss speak as well.. That doesnt look good as it was 1996 not 1995 and Hillary said it 3 times on different occasions not just once at 11 pm at night. Also she wasnt the next first lady to visit a war zone... Let me guess you both need sleep so please go take a nap before you come out and blame the media for reporting ummm news...

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Bill - Charlotte

    Bill.... IT was 1995... not 1996

    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 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Phil in Texas

    I've lost all respect for this EX president!!!!! If this happened to Obama or EVEN McCain he and Senator Clinton would have their heads on a block!!!!!! What a power/greedy/attention grabbing human being this person is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Lin

    well, Obama support can always find a way to criticize Hillary. It's hard to criticize Obama in the same way since he has not done as many as Hillary, neither did he take any stand.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. robert Gilmore

    was she tired when she dismissed the comic, Sinbads observations?
    "Oh hes just a comedian". She couldnt talk down on people more if she tried.
    In response to the article, Bank robbers actually do the same thing that she did when she was caught .LIE so thats a very appropriate statement from her husband.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Uh

    So she was exhausted every time she repeated it?

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Dai Vu

    If as Bill Clinton said "...When they are 60, they'll forget something when they are tired at 11 at night ,too " , then people 60 or above shlould not be presidential candidate

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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