Politico | Mike Allen | Apr. 11, 2008
Former President Bill Clinton gave a passionate defense Thursday of his wife’s claim about “landing under sniper fire” — just as the damaging controversy was dying down. Bill Clinton said the news media treated her like she had “robbed a bank” and claimed she was experiencing end-of-day fatigue, even though she had made the claim in morning speeches.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) acknowledged two weeks ago that she “misspoke” and “made a mistake” in her overly vivid account of the 1996 landing in Tuzla, Bosnia, during a goodwill mission as first lady.
Video of a tranquil arrival ceremony refuted the claim, and her comments hurt her struggling campaign by reviving questions about her candor.
Now, her husband has revived the issue by claiming the comments were true during a “Solutions for America” campaign event in at Boonville High School in Boonville, Ind. Here are his comments, recorded by networks and reported by CBS News:
“You know, 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 [sic]. Did y’all see all that? Oh, they blew it up.
“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. 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.
“Now I say that because what really has mattered is that, even then, she was interested in our troops. And I think she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone. And you woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them, when they’re 60, they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11 at night, too.”
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