Election 2008 | Hillary Clinton | News

Hillary Clinton's Recall of Bosnia Trip Scrutinized

The MSM has descended full throttle into the controversy over Hillary Clinton's 1996 trip to Bosnia, generated by the video above which demonstrates the inconsistencies between the former first lady's account of her experience and what actually appears to have happened.

Last night, CBS took it one step further (below left), with a reporter who accompanied Clinton on the trip confirming the inconsistencies. Keith Olbermann also pointed out that the disparity between Clinton's account and that of her companion, the comedian Sinbad, as well as the actual footage, may not have drawn as much attention had the argument that she's a candidate with more experience not been serving as "a major point in Clinton's narrative."

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said on Monday that Clinton may have "misspoke," a sentiment repeated later by the candidate herself.

The NYT reports: "The backpedaling was a rare instance of Mrs. Clinton’s acknowledging an error, and she did so on a sensitive issue: She has cited her 'strength and experience' since the start of the presidential race, framing her 80 trips abroad as first lady as preparation for dealing with foreign affairs as president. That argument was behind her campaign’s 'red phone' commercial, which cast her as best able to handle a crisis. Mrs. Clinton corrected herself at a meeting with the Philadelphia Daily News editorial board; she did not explain why she had misspoken, but only admitted it and then offered a less dramatic description. Mrs. Clinton said she had been told 'that we had to land a certain way and move quickly because of the threat of sniper fire,' not that actual shots were being fired. 'So I misspoke,' she said."

UPDATE — Clinton says she erred on Bosnia story: "So I made a mistake. That happens. It shows I'm human, which for some people is a revelation."

Clinton Camp: Hillary Misspoke About Her Role In Bosnia [huffington post]
Clinton Says She ‘Misspoke’ About Dodging Sniper Fire [nyt]
Hillary Clinton's Walter Mitty Moment [daily kos]
Lies and Lying Liars [slog]
"That is what happened" revisited [americablog]

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  1. You have to give it to Hillary. She has done a good job up until now of snowing voters on her "vast" foreign policy experience.

    Posted by: Roger Newcomb | Mar 25, 2008 8:45:58 AM

  2. Keith Olbermann also pointed out that the disparity between Clinton's account and that of her companion...REALLY, even Olbermann get's it?! WOW, and I never thought that he would be that objective given his multiple rants against the repubs!

    And again, what "vast" foreign policy experience does Clinton have? You are correct Roger, she has snowed the voters, but then again so has Obama.

    Those two have spent millions fighting each other and running against Bush. Well guess what, W cannot run again and that has been a waste of resources. Now one of them is going to have to face McCain and it is not going to be pretty. I have said many times that this election was Clinton's to loose, and I suppose that I was right. How else could McCain win the presidency? Only if the dems gave it to him. WOW, I suppose miracles do exist.

    Posted by: RB | Mar 25, 2008 8:58:16 AM

  3. I'm glad she's corrected this, but I wish she would have said "I exaggerated" instead of "I misspoke." Misspeaking is when you call someone Jack instead of John, or say you're going to 45th street when you actually mean 54th. Willfully manufacturing a story isn't misspeaking.

    Are all those "versatile" guys with 9 inches just misspeaking? No.

    Posted by: Adam | Mar 25, 2008 9:18:22 AM

  4. I've been disenchanted with Hillary since voting for her in NY, but this is getting far too much replay on TV already. She exaggerated, but they all do, and as I get older I realize even some things I can't believe I'd ever misremember...I do. I'm sure she was hyping up her experience (which was genuinely dangerous), but I remember the media killed Gore for this, for a serious of MEANINGLESS exaggerations or mistakes until the meme was Gore lies. It was sickening. McCain is a bald-faced liar in so many regards. Also, I do feel Hillary has lots of foreign-policy experience. I don't doubt for a second that she was privy to everything her husband was privy to, and she has met with a wide array of world leaders in a diplomatic capacity. That is not nothin'.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Mar 25, 2008 9:26:06 AM

  5. Matthew

    It wasn't a simple exageration. This plus her tale about basicaly brokering the Ireland peace acords single handidly (yes I am being hyperbolic)are bold faced lies. Add to that about her schedule revealing that she also lied about her not promoting Nafta when in fact people from a certain scheduled Nafta event have come foreword saying she was most definetly in support of it and promoted it. She was only upset that Nafta took precedence over healthcare which is a genuinely good reason to be upset and I will give Hillary kudos for that much.

    It would be illegal for Hillary to have been privy to what her husband knew since she did not have security clearence for even some of the most basic stuff during his tenure. Quite a few former clinton white house staff and cabinet members have come foreword stating emphaticaly she was not privy to anything because she wasn't allowed to be by law since she didn't have security clearence.

    Maybe pillow talk did see secrets exposed. BUT!!!!!!!!!!!! It is actualy better to claim not knowing since it was illegal for her to know without proper security clearence.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Mar 25, 2008 10:21:45 AM

  6. Clinton's apparently "misspoken" about her Tuzla arrival again and again. From the Washington Post:

    "Last week was not the first time that Clinton talked about sniper fire in Bosnia. She has provided various different versions of the incident along the campaign trail and in her autobiography, Living History. See, for example, this New York Times account of a campaign rally in Waco, Tex., on February 29, at which Clinton said that the welcoming ceremony had to be "moved inside" a Tuzla airport building "because of sniper fire." She made a similar statement in Dubuque, Iowa, back in December."


    But in the bigger scheme of themes, it's not like this incident tells us anything we didn't already know.

    Hillary Clinton: Ready to Lie on Day One

    Posted by: 24play | Mar 25, 2008 10:37:28 AM

  7. So Hillary overstated the case. Ho-hum. Any time the poor lady has a stumble, every Hillary-hating wingbat stomps on her bones. Who gives a shit. She's still the strongest person in the running.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 25, 2008 12:32:21 PM

  8. Obama blatantly lies about stuff over and over, and the media makes nary a peep. Hillary gives some dramatic embellishments to her arrival into a war zone, and they can't talk about it enough.

    Posted by: Tom | Mar 25, 2008 12:45:39 PM

  9. At this point Hillary could do use of some damage control. She is not only continuing to deteriorate her image, but also that of those around her, and I would venture to say; that of her own party. How many inconsistencies are her supporters willing to forgive in order to make her the next president? what does those say about her? and her supporters? and more importantly, if this is a preamble to her administration? what good can come out of it for our Nation?

    Her support from different sectors of the lgbt is almost unconditional, blind or narrow to lgbt issues, it remains me of the support Governor Blanco from Louisina enjoyed from gays when she ran for office right before Katrina struck, back then there were more qualified candidates such as Bob Jindale (but he was the rarity for whom no one was willing to vote for). It is time to be more objective of our candidates, have a look at the bigger picture and accordingly make informed choices so that we can go to the general elections with at the very least a unified party!

    Posted by: Rafael | Mar 25, 2008 12:55:37 PM

  10. Tom - I have watched these candidates closely, probably too close for my own good. If you are going to make claims such as "Obama blatantly lies about stuff over and over" please complete your statement and point to those specific lies you blame Senator Obama for engaging in, and if you can't back it up with facts, then do not make irresponsible comments Thanks,

    Posted by: Rafael | Mar 25, 2008 1:00:44 PM

  11. I don't fully trust Hillary, but come on---she wrote the correct narrative in her book. She knows every word she says is scrutinized, so why would she risk getting caught? I have to give some creedence to her just being exhausted and not remembering properly. I've been overseas four or five times and don't remember all the details; how can anyone remember every detail of dozens and dozens of trips?

    The truly shocking revelation here is that Sinbad was part of the diplomatic entourage. Sinbad? That was the best the first lady could get??

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 25, 2008 1:01:40 PM

  12. Rafael:

    The washington post covered a story just this week about how Obama has embellished his involvement in several very important pieces of legislation in his brief term as a US Senator, including one piece on immigration reform that he had nothing to do with but credited himself for.

    He also stated at the beginning of the Wright controversy that he was unaware of Wright's views and had never been present either in church or in person with Wright when he had expressed those views. Which was a lie, as we found later when he admitted knowing of Wright's views and had still refused to distance himself from him personally while his campaign tried its best to distance their candidate from Wright.

    He has also received over a million dollars from subprime mortgage companies (check congressional quarterly to verify this if you want), while accusing Hillary of doing the very same thing as if he is innocent of it.

    There are plenty of examples where he has embellished or "fudged" the truth for his benefit. They all do it, Hillary clearly as well. I just wish he was taken to the mat for it half as much as she has. Her lying about the 15 minutes of her arrival in Bosnia does little to negate the fact she was the first First Lady to enter a combat zone since Eleanor Roosevelt 50 years earlier. I would hope she wasn't in danger (otherwise why in the world were we sending her there) and maybe some people do not remember the atmosphere in the Balkans during that time where people were killed by snipers by the dozens every day. I'm sure she was safe, but I do not think it diminishes the fact she went in the first place. I will be the first to argue that First Lady experience does not equate to Presidential experience for the most part, but to ignore the fact she was one of the most politically active First Ladies ever is unfair. To pretend she sat around serving tea and crumpets is unfair. And untrue.

    Posted by: Britton | Mar 25, 2008 1:29:26 PM

  13. Paul,

    People don't remember things falsely and deliver the same spiel 4 times nearly word for word. That's called a rehearsed speech, or as they say in politics "keeping on message and following the talking points."

    Clinton has done the same thing with her supposed negotiations in Northern Ireland. The Irish refuted completely her assertions that she helped to negotiate the peace talks. In fact, they were livid.

    Numerically, there is no way for Clinton to win the nomination. She needs to get out now and stop wasting the party resources that should be used against McCain instead of her reckless and destructive attempts to destroy Obama.

    The consequences of Clinton's actions are potentially devastating to the party.

    Posted by: noah | Mar 25, 2008 1:31:33 PM

  14. Clinton devastating to the party? Now that's a real belly laugh. The party and its disciples are so screwed up it doesn't take a Hillary to do further damage. Look at the "liberal" obsession for that amateur, that empty-suit Obama. If he's nominated, we'll have another Republican for the next four years.

    Posted by: RICK | Mar 25, 2008 4:07:56 PM

  15. “Barack Obama, caught up in the fervor of a campaign speech Tuesday, drastically overstated the Kansas tornadoes death toll, saying 10,000 had died. "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died—an entire town destroyed," the Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech to 500 people packed into a sweltering Richmond art studio for a fundraiser. The death toll was 12.” – Associated Press, May 8, 2007

    “He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.” “I just did that last year,” he said, to murmurs of approval. But, contrary to Mr. Obama’s comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate.” - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/us/politics/03exelon.html

    “At the [January 2008] debate, Obama stated: “I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single-payer.” At an AFL-CIO conference in June 2003 while campaigning for the Senate [he said], “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare coverage. That’s what I’d like to see.”- http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/clinton-hopes-to-paint-obama-as-healthcare-flip-flopper-2008-01-22.html

    “But for your audience, your readership, the one thing that I do want to make sure is [that they understand that is regarding...] the human rights ordinance in Illinois that is the equivalent of what we’ve been attempting to do at the federal level and that I was a chief cosponsor of and then passed....” -http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid50021.asp
    Not only was Obama not a cosponsor of any kind of SB3186, he was no longer even in the Illinois Senate when it was voted on.
    - http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3186&GAID=3&DocTypeID=SB&LegId=11145&SessionID=3&GA=93

    “Obama said that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a fellow Democrat from neighboring West Virginia, had read the intelligence estimate as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and after a brief pause said the then-chairman had voted against the war resolution. However, Rockefeller was not the chair at the time and voted in favor of the war authorization.” – Fox News, 3/3/08

    “[Obama said] in a memoir published in 1995 that his grandfather was a Muslim and that [Barack] means “blessed” in Arabic. ... On the campaign trail during his 2004 Senate race, Obama told reporters that “Barack” was Swahili for “blessed by God.” - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2694.html

    “during a meeting with reporters at his Illinois campaign headquarters after his election to the U.S. Senate he ridiculed as “a silly question” whether he would run for president or vice president before his term ends in 2011. “I’ve never worked in Washington,” he said. “I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that I’m the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois.” - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2694.html

    Tim Russert: "So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?"
    Obama: "I will not." – Meet the Press, Jan. 22, 2006

    “In July of 2004, the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.” – Boston Globe

    "consider Obama's stirring tale for the Selma audience about how he had been conceived by his parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, because they had been inspired by the fervor following the "Bloody Sunday" voting rights demonstration that was commemorated March 4. "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala.," he said, "because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Ala. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Ala." Obama was born in 1961, and the Selma march occurred four years later, in 1965. The New York Times reported that when the senator was asked about the discrepancy later that day, he clarified: "I meant the whole civil rights movement." - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    “the Chicago Tribune reported that an extensive search found no basis for an episode Obama recounts about a picture he ran across in Life magazine of a "black man who had tried to peel off his skin" in a failed effort to use chemicals to lighten it. Obama writes that "seeing that article was violent for me, an ambush attack." The Tribune reported: "Yet no such Life issue exists, according to historians at the magazine. No such photos, no such article. When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, 'It might have been an Ebony or it might have been ... who knows what it was?' (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)" - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    "I know that I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington," Obama said as he launched his campaign last month, "but I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change." That carries a distinct echo of a line in Edwards' announcement speech in 2003: "I haven't spent most of my life in politics, which most of you know, but I've spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.” - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    Obama has often said he is “a constitutional law professor.” He is actually no more than a "Senior Lecturer (on leave of absence)" at the University of Chicago Law School. Think of a nurse claiming to be a doctor and you can appreciate the irritation of actual professors with his equivocation.

    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Obama is likely to get the nomination but it will be after traveling a decades-long path of lies, exaggerations, and misstatements every bit as bad as anything Sen. Clinton has been accused of.

    Posted by: TryTryAgain | Mar 25, 2008 4:30:27 PM

  16. Mr. Britton,

    I appreciate your will to contribute to Tom's comment. Even though I agree with you in that politicians tend to embellish their role in past political activities. I disagree in some of the points you made:

    1- We know that Sen. Obama was not the solo contributor to the Immigration Reform Bill, as we know most legislations take collaborations for them to be drafted and brought up to the American Congress. I none the less sustain that Sen. Obama took a leading role as he used his position as a US Senator to debate in favor of said legislation. He took a stand and I further credit him for it. You can read his Congressional intervention here: http://obama.senate.gov/speech/060403-floor_statement_3/

    2- In regards to Pastor Wright, Barack did not contradict himself. If you paid close attention he said that he did not hear those particular statements when he was seating at the church. When Sen. Obama spoke on the issue of race in Philadelphia, he willingly admitted that he heard statements that he was in discord, and that he strongly opposed those, which is far from contradicting himself or worse yet lying. I as a gay man further understand where he is coming from, I oftentimes find myself in from of people I love who will from time to time say things that in the words of Sen. Obama "make me cringe" but out of respect, I've tried many times to be the better person, and try to address them in more respectful ways than denouncing them or rejecting them, which in my view doesn't make a difference at all.

    3- I'm not familiar with the 1 million plus dollars contribution from the sub-prime mortgage companies claim. I shall research it.

    Again thanks for the dialog. Regards,

    Posted by: Rafael | Mar 25, 2008 4:33:52 PM

  17. Well I've been watching the news and so it seems that Hillary is got yet another skeleton in her closet, official White House documents show she was in deed pro NAFTA since day one! go figure ... Of course now her supporters will say that she was only First Lady back then, you guys like to have it both ways and I can't blame you :)

    Posted by: Rafael | Mar 25, 2008 5:40:54 PM

  18. Where have you been Rafael, the NAFTA details in her schedules have been discussed days ago and she has had several people who attended those meetings on the schedule who say that she was not a fan of NAFTA.

    As for his debate on the immigration bill, debating the merits of a bill is a lot different than drafting the legislation.

    And in an interview with Keith Olbermann directly after the Wright issue hit the airwaves, Obama said, "I wasn't in church during the time that these statement were made. I did not hear such incendiary language myself, personally. Either in conversations with him or when I was in the pew, he always preached the social gospel. ... If I had heard them repeated, I would have quit. ... If I thought that was the repeated tenor of the church, then I wouldn’t feel comfortable there."

    He clearly says he was not aware of the incendiary speech nor had he heard Wright express those views inside or outside of church. He later admits to having conversations with Wright about these views, thereby admitting he knew about them.

    I'm not sure where you don't see that as a misrepresentation of the truth.

    Posted by: Britton | Mar 25, 2008 6:03:39 PM

  19. RAFAEL,

    now, you are just sounding sheepish. hush, little boy.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2008 6:04:53 PM

  20. Britton, the news from the official records of her tenure as a First Lady in the White House were just being assessed, and this is yet another vulnerability on Sen. Clinton. On Rev. Wright, I can't make you see what you don't want to see, the statements made during Sen. Obama attendance to the church service and those that surfaced to the public view and which he qualified as incendiary are not necessarily the same, and therefore provide for a weak argument.

    Nic I don't engage in your kind of discourse.

    Posted by: Rafael | Mar 25, 2008 6:19:12 PM

  21. There were over 1000 Sunday services in the 20+ years Obama has been attending Wright's church and we are to believe that he just happened to miss church on those Sundays in which Wright wasn't having one of his histrionic meltdowns; or that no one who was there would have told Obama about excesses he did miss?

    As Christopher Hitchens [who thinks that Samantha Power should never have been forced to resign from the Obama campaign for "simply telling the truth" about Sen. Clinton] has written:

    "Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well that he'd one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago "base" in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.

    You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)

    Looking for a moral equivalent to a professional demagogue who thinks that AIDS and drugs are the result of a conspiracy by the white man, Obama settled on [his 85-year old grandmother]."


    Posted by: TryTryAgain | Mar 25, 2008 7:02:05 PM

  22. Britton

    Actually the exact opposite.

    People from those meetings have said she was PRO NAFTA during those meetings and her ONLY problem ( a valid one and I will give her kudos for this) was that Nafta was taking precedence over healthcare.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Mar 25, 2008 7:51:29 PM

  23. ouch, RAFA!

    i guess we'll just have to let your own words damn you, then.

    Posted by: nic | Mar 25, 2008 8:01:08 PM

  24. Jimmy, I have heard the opposite. i believe the quotations said she was not particularly pleased about NAFTA, whether it was because it was an affront on a healthcare discussion or because she genuinely disliked it, who knows. Clearly she didn't think it was that important.

    Besides, in a matchup against McCain, both Dems win in terms of NAFTA. And Obama is polling terrible in Ohio and Pennsylvania compared to McCain (and Clinton) so clearly the NAFTA issue is one that doesn't play as much as it used to. There's nothing wrong with both candidates stand that it should be revised/reviewed. I agree. We can't assume the agreements we made in terms of trade are forever concrete and not open to negotiation.


    Rafael, they were assessed last week, the NAFTA thing came up then and she responded. And it doesn't seem to really be playing at all. You explained it like no one had ever brought it up. Also, in terms of Wright, if you choose to believe that statements as incendiary as what Wright preached were reserved for those Sundays that Obama happened to not be there and that Obama never knew anything about them (even though he has said he was aware of Wright's views after first denying that), then that's fine. I've gotten used to the blinders Obama supporters put on. At least with Hillary, you're constantly reminded of how she is just a typical DC politician, so I'm never surprised or disappointed.

    Posted by: Britton | Mar 25, 2008 11:03:17 PM

  25. Britton Did you watch the news tonight?

    There talking about it

    Here is a diary at dkos that has video clips

    They do both her Tuzla lie/exageration +++++++++++++++NAFTA


    hearsay vs the facts.


    Your support of Hilary is comendable, but it is time to wish her well on the rest of her journey and get behind the dem nominee= Obama

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Mar 26, 2008 12:43:16 AM

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