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. Impartial Supporter

    If you're tired you may forget what color dress you were wearing, not if you were being shot at. I like her but am now convinced she'll say or do anything to get elected. Hello Obama.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. paul oregon

    apparently the clintons belive they can bully there way through anything like there friend carville belives he is above the law and its ok to ingore the law.
    people are not stupid we understand whats going on more then the clintons and there sheep know
    uion brothers in penn.an ind. and the rest of thestates will clip her wings.
    we want some that will talk to us not down to us.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Visionary

    The reason why she is so tired. Is because she is up all night composing solutions for this country. Unlike Obama being so unexperienced and adored by the media. He has plenty of time to sleep.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Larry Buchas

    Bill's a perpetual liar too. The evidence was captured on camera for everyone to see. Let's hope the voters noticed it.

    Hey Bill, she said she was UNDER SNIPER FIRE! The media didn't overreact. Your camp has overexaggerated this in a repetitive campaign message.

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Greg

    Not at 11:00 at night and not just once but THREE times she told that story.

    Moreover, when Chelsea was asked about her mother's version, she said she supported what her mother had said.

    So sorry, Bill, unless the people you were addressing don't own televisions or don't have computer and internet access, they should call BS on you.

    The days of being able to get away with lies atop lies are over.

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Azar

    Why are the Clintons getting away with umpteen lies? Why isn’t the media challenging them more forcefully?

    By letting the Clintons get away with blatant lies, the media is doing disservice to the American people.

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Angus McDugan

    And another thing... Don't down play what America thinks is important by saying tht the media is at fault. You are wrong Bill! The American people can think for themselves. How arrogant!

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Skip

    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."

    So now the Hillary Clinton campaign has to distance itself from public comments made by . . . Bill Clinton?

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. HSD-NYC

    Thanks for the explanation, Bill. Unfortunately, this wasn't something that occured once after some lack of sleep.

    Senator Clinton repeatedly delivered this story on no fewer than three occations. Each time she embellished on it a little more. She disputed Sinbad's original recollection. She even had daughter Chelsea "substantiate" her story.

    This is more than a little lack of sleep, Bill. It's more like the never ending nightmare of the fabled Clintonian Forked Tongue syndrome!

    Now what was that again? You never had sex with Monica Lewinski because you never "came"? Ops, now there's that inconvenient stain that showed up on a blue dress.

    It appears that only an actual film of the event could get Senator Clinton to fess up to the truth – sound familiar?

    April 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Tom

    A misspeak is when you say something like “it was overcast that day” but in reality it was sunny. Or “there were 1000 people there” when there was only 100. Exagerating that you clearly remember running from the plane to the cars because of sniper fire, just to make yourself look more impressive, THAT is a lie. I am offended that she actually went on a nighttime talk show and made a joke of it. Basically saying “I got caught in a lie, isn’t that funny”. NO it’s not funny! The tired at 11 at night doesn’t work either since it’s not the first time she has told that story. She is a liar and will do or say anything to get elected regardless of the fact that she is tearing down the lead the democrats had over the republican candidate before this protracted battle for the democratic nomination. It’s time for her to step aside and let the election battle focus on the real opponent, McCain! For the good of the party and the good of the nation!

    April 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. David Brown

    This isn't about forgetting what you ate the week before, or what you wore yesterday. A person doesn't easily forget about being shot at! And it wasn't just forgetting something at 11:00 pm. She mentioned this more than once in campaign speeches. You can hardly blame the media for speaking out about something as important as this, which speakes to the character of someone running for such a high office as the president of the country. Where's the integrity??

    April 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. woogie

    I seem to remember that the speech was given in the morning., and that it was available to the press prior to it being given. So I guess it is a mis-type as well as a mis-speak. I also remember that she mis-spoke more than once on the issue.

    Lies about lies. Over and over.

    April 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Bangus 1er

    This issue should be burried by the Clintons.Reviving it, is gonna hurt them big time.
    First , Bill, we're not stupid.
    She stated THIS fact not once , but on SEVERAL other occasions.
    She stated it last , around 9 a.m. and not 11p.m.
    Second, the first 1st Lady to go into a war zone , was NOT Hillary , but Nixon's wife.
    I saw the comments on TV , and it is just sad that you were smiling while MISstating the facts

    Now that I think about it , your job is to make sure that she's not elected.This way , you could brag about being the only one in the family that got elected.

    OBAMA 08

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Rick from NJ

    President Clinton is right. So she walked instead of ran to her van.
    She still was in Bosinia
    She still visited a company that was recently at war.
    She was problably told that there were still dangers in the area.
    She was just trying to demonstrate that she traveled to other countries in times of war.

    This is rediculous.

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Smedley Butler

    Disgraceful conduct by both of these feeders at the public trough.
    Obama may be worse, however.

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Marcie

    She "misstated" about five times!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Chris

    So Hillary wasn't misspeaking when she said the same thing back in Iowa before their caucus? Or was that also a misspeak? Was she just tired then too?

    April 11, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Once Supporter

    I was a supporter of Hillary at one point but now I can no longer support her. She makes "misstatements" all the time and expects us to be stupid enough to believe it. Bad memory is one thing but to say that you were being shot at when you weren't....that's hard to be mistaken about!

    April 11, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Claire, Austin, TX

    One lie when she was tired? She said it OVER and OVER again. God just admit it. More lies does not equal truth.

    I am SO sick of your family. Stay away from our White House.

    April 11, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. JFK

    They have overreacted to everything the Clintons say or do. Its become quite clear that Obama is the medias favorite darling. It's quite clear that the Clintons do not get any fair coverage and Obama can never do wrong.

    April 11, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Slick

    Bliiy what about at her little rally's held during the day and other times she said it while wide awake?

    You two are jokes and think we are the dumb ones.

    April 11, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Against Lies

    Exhaustion doenst cause amnesia.....sorry bill this excuse isnt working

    April 11, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Bev

    How can we support Obama when he has been listening to Reverand Wright for the last 20 years and financially supporting the Church in the amount of over $25,000.00? This question is for ObamaSupporter from Washington

    April 11, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    That's funny. I believe Hillary told the same story several times and didn't apologize for it until she got caught "misstating" the truth by Sinbad.

    April 11, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Judy

    are you KIDDING me? I'm looking at every...single...story....on...today...There's everything negative about Hillary and positive for Obama. And the negative is nothing wrong but you guys have certainly SPUN it to look bad. I'm sure if the same thing happened to Obama you would say that he's strong, etc.

    April 11, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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