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. D Williams

    Hillary, are the 'men' beating up on you again?

    They are forcing you to tell those lies.

    It's not your fault – it never is.

    It's those bad old men again.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Bee

    The media has really been against Hillary. you see they even had the got to acclaim her the Favourite before Super Teusday.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Mark, Berwyn PA

    Of course Bill thinks everyone overreacted; he is a born liar and must feel that lying is just fine. So his wife lied? No one should care because lying is OK. Right Bill?

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Ehsanul Haque

    That's right People forget things at 11 pm when they are tired. Does a President forget too? Then what about 3-00 am call? Will a tired President pickup that call when tired and in deep sleep?
    There is difference between misspeak and lie. Two have different meanings.

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Ken Austin, TX

    Just like you and Hillary created the over blown story of Barack plagiarizing Gov. Deval Patrick's speech???

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Roger

    You had not say anything more, Bill. Look what happened to you, and the integrity of the White House, when you lied to the nation and to Hillary. How many more lies are the two of you hiding?

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Alex H

    TR – Nice find with that video. Makes Clinton look like a liar and shows how presidential Obama really is.

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. smokesignals

    Nah, she didn't rob a bank. She just lied. Several times.
    Does Bill really think we are that stupid?

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Frank (Cleveland, Ohio)

    If she is so tired at 11am..how can she claim that she is the only Demcrat ready for an international crisis at 3am?

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Mary - PA

    Oh my gosh! Would these Clintons just please shut up! I am so tired of hearing their misspeaks and excuses! Hillary, you and hubby Bill can't get facts straight, you refuse to answer legitimate questions and try to laugh them off, you can't seem to run the finances of your campaign, how in the world do you expect us to believe you are ready on day one to run our country....run it into the ground maybe! Please just go enjoy your millions and fall into obscurity so that we can stop hearing your nonsense every day!

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Chris

    If she "misspeaks" when she's "exhausted" she better give it up right now. And on her way out give up her Senate seat. I haven't seen one thing improve up where I live in NY. Must be that exhaustion that caused her to misspeak about caring too much too.

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. GARY


    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Obama/Edward

    You means this is small lie as compared to "I have no sex with this woman". You and your wife has 109 million go and enjoy life and stop lying to people.

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. pbj

    If she "misspoke" because it was late at night and she was exhausted, it kinda makes you wonder whether you want her fielding a call about a national security crisis at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Don't want her waking up the next morning saying, "Did I say bomb them immediately? I'm sorry, I was really tired at the time and that's not what I meant to say."

    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Tony

    Liar Liar, pants on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Mark

    It's not like she said it once and then took it back. She said it REPEATEDLY for weeks. She was refuted on several occasions and ignored it as well. That is why she received scrutiny. Bill is exaggerating again. I'm surprised he didn't blame Obama.

    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Rick in Florida


    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. lt

    Right, except she repeated it multiple times and was clearly using it to pad her foreign experience resume. The media and the people are right to be disturbed by that.

    BTW Bill, you might want to get your facts straight.... she never told the story at night, and the "incident" occured in 1996 not '95.

    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. 2sense

    It all depends on your definition of "sniper fire."

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. st louis typicl whte male

    It's very difficult to straddle your convictions with keeping others happy to gain support. Why do you Obama supporters think Obama gives ambiguous answers to questions and his positions? He ansers tough questions through drafted speeches which I doubt he writes himself. He wants everyone to vote for him and you are foolish to not see this.

    I admire Hillary and respect that fact that she thinks through methods to make things happen and not just calls on change with hope.

    No politician is clean of any dirt and skeletons.... that is why those who could be good at it won't ever run.

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Michael

    Wow Bill, I think you have lost it. First off, your wife did answer the question at 11 am. It was 9 am. And it wasn't just once, it was several times. It was not 95' but 96'. Your wife was no the first lady to go into a combat zone since FDR wife, its was Nixons wife. What don't understand is don't you haves aids working for you Bill? All last week they were talking how it was Nixon's wife not Hillary. Why are you even bringing this up now?It was dying down. My God please stop you are hurting her campaign. Oh wait.....don't stop you are doing a great job.

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Go Obama!

    This makes no sense, Bill! If Bosnia were as dangerous as you claim, you would have never sent your daughter! We all know Hillary and Chelsea went on vacation to Bosnia with a comedian and a singer! Stop covering up lies with more lies! It just makes you a bigger liar!

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. dbacchus

    Excellent link, TR. Thanks!

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Sharon, Seattle

    I might have bought the tired excuse if she only "mis-spoke" once but she made the statement at least three separate times.

    He must be tired too and can't keep HIS stories straight.

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. andrea, Illinois

    He would have better been quiet....

    – Hillary told the story about 3 times
    – Hillary told the story in the morning (was she on medication, did she not sleep enough, or what else was the problem)
    – Her story is so incredible different from the reality, that you really can't call it "misspeaking". It is what it is: A BIG FAT LIE!!!!

    Now Bill trying to explain it, makes it even worse. How shall we believe in her 3am ads and her argument of being ready on day one? If she misspeaks already in the morning, because she didn't get enough sleep, how can she react to a critical phone call at 3am?

    This is one big hole, that's getting bigger and bigger every day!
    Too bad, nobody will believe the Clintons anymore, they are destroying themselves and what's left from the respect the American people once had for Bill! It's a shame!

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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