Bill Clinton for the defense

Mike Allen reports on Bill Clinton’s defense of Ms. Hillary’s claim that she landed under sniper fire at the airport in Tuzla in 1996. Here are Clinton’s comments:

“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.”

Clinton was speaking in Boonville, Indiana, maintaining the usual ratio of factuality to bologna. ABC News comments:

While the former president may have been amused by the whole incident, his telling of the course of events wasn’t quite accurate. Hillary Clinton actually made the comments numerous times, including at an event in Iowa on Dec. 29, amd an event on Feb. 29 and one time — bright and early in the morning — on March 17.

Sen. Clinton wasn’t as quick with her apology as President Clinton may remember either. In fact, it took a week for her to eventually correct herself, first talking to the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board on March 24 and again apologizing the next day in Greensboro, N.C.

Those who look for psychological factors to explain Bill Clinton’s contribution to Ms. Hillary’s campaign this year have a lot of material with which to work here.

JOHN adds: The whole story is bogus. There was no sniper fire or threat of sniper fire; no flak jackets; no nothing. The pilot who flew the airplane is interviewed here.

UPDATE: Assaf Gal of Primetime Politics has forwarded us the video above of Clinton’s remarks.

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