Fact Check: Bill Clinton's remarks

April 11, 2008 9:10:40 PM PDT
Former President Bill Clinton tried to defend his wife after she claimed she faced sniper fire in Bosnia and then had to apologize for it, because it wasn't true. So is he helping his wife's campaign or hurting it?

Just when you thought this whole thing had died down, he drags it back. There were contribution issues, detractions and distractions to the campaign. The Bosnia remarks are an issue that keeps surfacing in the Clinton campaign. The latest installment, was made by former President Clinton at a couple of campaign stops in Indiana.

"And you would've thought she'd robbed a bank, the way they all carried on about this," said Bill Clinton.

In the small town of Boonville, Indiana Bill Clinton blamed the news media for going after his wife's exaggerations about sniper fire during a 1995 trip to Bosnia. Mr. Clinton said his wife made those misstatements at 11 at night, at the end of a long day.

"When she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995, did ya'll see all that?" asked Bill Clinton.

In fact Hillary Clinton misstated her Bosnia story at least four times since December and the last time was not at 11 at night, but bright and early on the morning of March 17th.

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was no greeting ceremony and we basically were told to run to our cars, now that's what happened," said Sen. Hillary Clinton (D).

As we've seen, the video of that Bosnia trip shows that's not what happened and Bill Clinton's assertion that his wife immediately apologized isn't accurate either. It took a week before she corrected herself.

Hillary's misstatement was widely reported in the news media and she was mocked on the internet by her critics.

But the incident was over, when Bill Clinton decided to talk about Thursday.

On Friday he told reporters his wife has reminded him that he wasn't on the Bosnia trip and she's asked him not to bring it up again.

Yet another instance of the Former President running out of step with the Clinton campaign. It started in South Carolina when he angered voters by comparing Barack Obama to Jesse Jackson. Then there were a string of much publicized blow ups with reporters.

"So if that's your position, you have it. Get on your television and say it," said Bill Clinton.

At a conference of political scientists at U.C. Berkeley Friday afternoon, Thomas Mann Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution told me the Former President isn't helping.

"It's been very difficult for her and the campaign and it would be better for her if he was spending these months abroad," said Mann.

ABC 7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain points out Bill Clinton is a very effective fundraiser and in spite of his failure to bring bill Richardson on board, he is likely to have a good deal of pull with the democratic party big wigs.

"My guess is behind the scenes, he's probably doing a lot of phoning and he's probably very persuasive with a lot of super delegates," said Cain.

Friday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this about Bill Clinton's error-riddled defense.

"I can't for the life of me figure out why the President would have said it except he may have been having a late night adult moment," Pelosi told CBS's Bob Schieffer.

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