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Wag the Blog Redux: Clinton in Bosnia

Last week, we asked Fixistas to weigh in on whether Sen. Hillary Clinton's Bosnia blunder might prove detrimental to her campaign, or merely pass as a minor blip.

Just to recap -- Clinton had said she once fled sniper fire in 1996 when landing at an air base in Bosnia. But comedian Sinbad, who was on her trip, said that was untrue (as did the Post's fact checker Michael Dobbs). Clinton then held a press conference and said she "made a mistake."

Just how big a story was that "mistake" in the larger narrative of the campaign? We received all sorts of opinions -- 312 comments! -- and politics producer Sarah Lovenheim culled the best and the brightest.

Here they are:

Minor Blip

"I don't think this alone will derail her candidacy . . . while it attacks one narrative she has created based around her experience. Her supporters take her at her word that she simply is experienced, no amount of proof to the opposite will effect that. It also feeds another narrative, that she is not trustworthy, but that is a character flaw she has always had with her detractors, thus no new ground has been broken here." - jamesbedell

"A minor blip, if anything. The basic facts remain. She did go to bosnia. It was still a 'war zone' and the reports from the time don't paint a rosy picture of it. You can't take that away from clinton -- and it is more experience then obama has on the subject." -- priusdriver

Major Blunder

"To be sure, Ms. Clinton's claim to 'experience' is jeopardized by her tall tales about dodging bullets while under fire. But for many of us, the core issue isn't Hillary's make believe: it's her eroded integrity. Truthfulness, honesty, and credibility are sacrificed, and the story teller's trustworthiness exists no more." --FirstMouse

"Hillary is not guilty of either exaggeration or a faulty memory. She is guilty of lying in an attempt to boost her "experience" bona fides..." --sharons

"As a Vietnam combat vet I know one does not forget being shot at. I also have a Vietnam Vet's loathing for "wannabes," people who make up stories about being in combat.
Clinton's claim of sniper fire at her Bosnia visit is not mere forgetfulness. It's also a very foolish lie for her to make. A first lady's life is well documented, the facts fairly easy to check as is evidenced by how quickly her Bosnia sniper story blew up in her face." --AlaninMissoula

"I think this is bad for Hillary because it is a part of a pattern of hyping her involvement in international affairs. She has also claimed to have been an important part in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, a claim that has been shown to be highly exaggerated if not downright false." --Bensonbark

By Washington Post editors  |  April 3, 2008; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: FixCam: McCain's Big "Secret" Is Out
Next: The Friday Senate Line: Schumer Sets Expectations?



Posted by: Alma | August 18, 2008 6:03 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: Maria | August 16, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Gerald | August 16, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Apparently the New York Times team is screening and eliminating posts that criticize either the Clinton campaign or the Gray Lady (NYT) herself. You may find others posting more with you if realization of the exclusionary policy spreads. Thanks for your special role, Chris.

Impact of the Tuzla fairy tale in its several iterations? It undermines the Clintons' credibility. Why should anyone trust a person who has proved her/himself deceitful? And when you lose your trustworthiness, you've lost just about everything...even if you're likable enough to have a beer or so with, which may be an open question. GWB with his job rating is a case in point.

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Posted by: adipex generic | April 10, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Tuzla is just another one in a series of outright lies. Forget about misspeaking or misremembering or being misquoted, you cannot spin out this one. It was repeated, so are we going to call this re-misspeaking? You know the Clintons, moving the goal post over and over is not new. She had to win Texas and Ohio or she will leave the race, well she did not win Texas, Obama has more delegates there, is she going to quit now? Wright and Rezko did not "kill" Obama, Michigan will not re-vote and she trails by 700,000 popular votes, where is she going to get them? Oh I know, from this point on, winner takes all, that's how.

Posted by: info22 | April 5, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

emeraldfalcon. What does any of that have to do with fixing the problems of this country by someone you know and know what to expect? Why are you still in their personal business and cruxifying her for what you feel her husband did? We're talking about a job, not their personal business which had no influence on the ability of doing that job AND was not our business. Would you want the standards that you are attempting to apply to them used to determine whether you're hired or not? Not to mention the fact that you are no better, since you haven't included Thomas Jefferson or John F. Kennedy in your "Lying Husbands and The Stupid Women Who Forgives Them" Club. Hate them all, but respect their work. Don't hurt the country and vote because you don't like a candidate. Vote for the candidate who can fix this country's problems as quickly as possible. Vote for the one who has a solution, not the one who has the dreams. We need someone who understands "damage control." We can dream later, we need our fix, now! Hate the people, but respect their work. Hey--how about this, let's get even with them: Let's use them like you think they have used us, then kick them out?? How does that sound to you?

Posted by: MsAh1on1 | April 5, 2008 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Patrick. Will be hearing from Obama listening to Rev Wright for 20 years, but not really listening to Rev Wright?? Whether Hillary lied or not is determined by how well you like her. If you don't like her: Yes. She absolutely did lie, and she is the ONLY politician to EVER lie, besides her husband on the face of this earth! If you like her. No, she simply made a humanly error by confusing one incident with another. Lies are intentional. She is smart enough to know that the media scrutinizes her every word, and she knows what's at stake. Case in point: I made a CD for my brother with his favorite old song on it. The song came out about 15 years ago. I played it for him. He never heard of the song. And, we were in two different parts of the country when it came out. Go figure. (I think that the song reminded me of him, and I confused it with his liking it.) So, once again "Hillary-Haters-For-No-Justifiable-Reason," she didn't lie, no more than your believing that she did!

Posted by: MsAh1on1 | April 5, 2008 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Hillary lied about the Bosnia tarmac experience. Plain and simple. The Bosnia story was worth 3 to 4 days of negative news cycling for her, but made Americans more aware of her issues with trustworthiness, honesty, and credibility.

She was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, making fun of her lie on the Bosnia trip. If you have ever been in a dangerous situation where someone is shooting at or near you, it is nothing to joke about, especially with the news of college shootings ranging from Virginia Tech to NIU.

Posted by: ajtiger92 | April 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

With all the media handwringing over Rev. Wright, why has the MSM avoided mentioning that Hillary's pastor was just convicted for first degree child sexual abuse?

Posted by: Trumbull | April 4, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm not even sure pride is involved. I suspect it's equal parts personal ambition (even as a longshot) and the need to be certain she individually ends up in the black. That $5 mil self-loan isn't a sum you can easily walk away from.

Posted by: FlownOver | April 4, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It was a sad, sad lie. At least Obama never lied about the Wright controversy.

But what does it matter? Clinton might as well be Mike Huckabee - only in it for pride.

Posted by: thecrisis | April 4, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

This post is called "Wag the Blog Redux". It is a followup on the original "Wag the Blog" post about Clinton in Bosnia. There was no "Wag the Blog" post about Obama and Wright, so there is no "Wag the Blog Redux" post about it. This isn't complicated.

You think the media didn't harp on Reverend Wright? Seriously?

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

08' Presidential Candidate ------------- >




< ------------- A New Class of Presidency Coming Your Way In 08' !

Posted by: curt.1 | April 4, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Why in the world should the media "harp on" the opinions (no matter how off-the-wall) of a retired Chicago preacher to the same degree they examine the continuing outright dishonesty of a major candidate for President?

Liar, liar, pantsuit on fire.

Posted by: FlownOver | April 4, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

jkallen001, thanks for posting that. Its an interesting compare-and-contrast.

Posted by: bsimon | April 4, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"...thus no new ground has been broken here."

Ah, but the polls tell us a different story. New ground IS being broken as her lead continues to drop. Is it related to the Bosnia story? Or BHO's media saturation of the PA market? Both? Heck if I know; the pollsters don't seem to be asking the right follow up questions.

Posted by: judgeccrater | April 4, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

There wasn't a "Wag the Blog" post about Reverend Wright. There were several posts about Wright and Obama's speech, but none of them were in this category, so none of them get followup posts. Maybe you should figure out how this blog works before you whine about it being unfair.

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2008 08:51 AM
And maybe you should go read my post again, I didn't say anything about a blog on Wright, just the redux of a story on him, which the media is not harping on like they are on Hillary.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | April 4, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"...a rosy picture of it..."

Given that a little girl ran up to her and gave her flowers, the reports DO paint a somewhat rosy picture of her arrival. Which was then followed by singing and listening to Sheryl Crow and the comedy stylings of Sinbad.

Posted by: judgeccrater | April 4, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Patrick, this is a summary of comments on the post "Wag the Blog: Clinton in Bosnia", posted March 26. There wasn't a "Wag the Blog" post about Reverend Wright. There were several posts about Wright and Obama's speech, but none of them were in this category, so none of them get followup posts. Maybe you should figure out how this blog works before you whine about it being unfair.

Posted by: Blarg | April 4, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Despite a headline 'Obama's Support Softens a Bit, Poll Shows' including 'his big lead among men over Mrs. Clinton has disappeared during that period; in February 67 percent of men wanted the party to nominate him compared with 28 percent for Mrs. Clinton, while now 47 percent of men back him compared with 42 percent for Mrs. Clinton'.

He drops 20% among men and she picks up 14% and they make it sound like nothing. News flash, the bubble will break, I just hope before we send this loser to face McShame.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | April 3, 2008 08:29 PM"

Hey Patrick,

You left a minor detail from the story you quoted out:

"The poll, taken March 28 through April 2, includes some encouraging news for Mr. Obama as he and Mrs. Clinton slog through what has become an extended fight for the nomination. Over half of those sampled continue to view him as having a better chance of defeating Mr. McCain. Most expect him to win the nomination. And Mr. Obama's supporters are more enthusiastic about his candidacy than are Democrats backing Mrs. Clinton"

Full article:

Posted by: n2itiveus | April 4, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse


While I agree with the sentiments here, I can't help but point out that the Marine Corps has always been integrated with the Navy. The Marines date back to the days when tall ships battled very close and marines were employed to snipe at opposing crews and take them on hand to hand in boarding parties.

As the times changed, and the range and power of naval gunnery precluded close range naval battles, the Marines grew to be a naval-born land strike force. specialized on deploying from the sea. A percentage of the Marine Corps is always at sea with the Navy for the purpose of being deployed in short-notice emergencies.

As an Army medic. I have nothing but the utmost respect for a naval corpsman.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | April 4, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Where's Dr. Phil when you need him? Lying husband;lying wife. Bill lies to fellow American citizens about adultry, Hillary lies to fellow American citizens about her and daughter being shot at, and Chelsie just goes along with the lies. Doesn't make her a bad presidential candidate, him a bad president or her a bad daughter. It does make THE CLINTON's a bad choice to again be the family representing the 'American Family' living in 'American's House.'

Posted by: emeraldfalcon | April 4, 2008 5:21 AM | Report abuse

In defense of HRC I post a link [that Leichtman should have found] -

I think BHO gets better press, as well, but I do not read everything.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 3, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

This may make little difference in her campaign to get the Democratic nomination, but it will devastate her candidacy if she ends up being the one to face McCain.

Posted by: tdb001 | April 3, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hillary did not make a mistake with her sniper story... she made a story. In this story she was dodging bullets in the line of duty.

We do not need a story teller in the White House. We need someone ready to face reality. And someone ready to release her/his records. In the case of Hillary this means releasing her tax returns, information about the big donations to the Clinton's library, and White House records.

No story telling, just facts and solutions to answer the problems in a non partisan fashion.

Posted by: Logan6 | April 3, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The Bosnia Incident is certainly noteworthy and goes to Clinton's credibility. However, perhaps the WaPo could consider using their resources for misleading statements involving actual policy:

If Obama has to continually lie about the other side's positions, is he qualified to be president?

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | April 3, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Peixe: 2 million dollars has temporarily bought Sen Obama 3% points in Pa. Big whoop.

Posted by: leichtman | April 3, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

looks to be more more hateful, devisive Obama posts tonight from the campaign that told us that his movement represents uplifting change. Could his supporters perhaps come up with some new and perhaps more creative inflamatory words to describe their opponent and her supporters. And the Obama supporters accuse us of being devivise? right.

Posted by: leichtman | April 3, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Patrick, if the bubble is bursting, then why is Obama gaining on Clinton in her "gimme" state of PA? Her main problem now is that the primary isn't being held tomorrow. Maybe the reason that there is an "Obama lovefest" as you describe it is because more and more people are deciding he is their candidate of choice.

BTW, saying you wore a blue sportcoat when it was really Grey is misspeaking. Saying you were under sniper fire and had to run for cover when instead you were greeted by a little girl with a flower is telling a LIE.

Plain and simple: HRC can't be trusted (and this is coming from someone who as recently as 9 months ago held the Clintons in high regard).


Posted by: PeixeGato | April 3, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.

What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.

Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements and rejections of his comments and him.

We've seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright's many sermons.

Some of the Wright's comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling him "unpatriotic," let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country. 

How many of Wright's detractors, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to name but a few, volunteered for service, and did so under the often tumultuous circumstances of a newly integrated armed forces and a society in the midst of a civil rights struggle? Not many.

While words do count, so do actions.

Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism.,0,92000.story

Posted by: jkallen001 | April 3, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

What a mean little liar she is. And she cannot even admit that she lied. Mis-spoke?
Mis-spoke? No dear! The word you are searching for is "LIED". Vince Foster, Jennifer Flowers, Walmart, NAFTA, Bosnia,
sniper-fire. Lies ,lies, lies. Wild Bill the Cheat and Honest Hillary the Liar. The perfect pair to replace Dumbo Bush. Just what America needs.

Posted by: alzach | April 3, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's NY Times Obama love fest, for all you lovers out there.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | April 3, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Despite a headline 'Obama's Support Softens a Bit, Poll Shows' including 'his big lead among men over Mrs. Clinton has disappeared during that period; in February 67 percent of men wanted the party to nominate him compared with 28 percent for Mrs. Clinton, while now 47 percent of men back him compared with 42 percent for Mrs. Clinton'.

He drops 20% among men and she picks up 14% and they make it sound like nothing. News flash, the bubble will break, I just hope before we send this loser to face McShame.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | April 3, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it was just a normal day in the campaign in Hillary's office and everybody was fighting and she just thought she was in Bosnia under sniper fire.

Posted by: majorteddy | April 3, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess by Hillary supporters guilt-by-association logic, used against Barack for mere association with Rezko and Wright, we can not only assume but conclude with certainty that they are a pathalogical liars too.

Posted by: n2itiveus | April 3, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow, let's see if we can have more comments on the comments followup than we had for the original comments.

My favorite comment wasn't chosen (and I forget now who made it): "Did Clinton mistake her Bosnian trip for some OTHER time she was under sniper fire?"

This was a lie pure and simple.

Posted by: egc52556 | April 3, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The truth is, she lied. Plain and simple.
Do you really think ANY pilot would land an aircraft under fire, knowing that he carried the first lady and only child of a sitting president? To have told the story once might have been accepted as being sleep deprived, but to tell it several times in different venues makes me trust her truthfulness on many of the things she says.

Posted by: carol44 | April 3, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Wah, wah wah, PatrickNYC. It's funny how people always blame the media for everything, despite the fact that you CHOSE to come here and to read this blog. Does the media have an agenda setting effect? Of course... but you can combat that by reading more than one media source. If you want a purely unbiased view of the world, you're going to have to get your news from someone who isn't human. Everyone has a slant whether or not they know it.

I think Chris does a pretty good job of laying out issues on both sides. I do think sometimes there are parts of his arguments that are flawed (i.e. calling Texas a "win" for Hillary) but all-in-all, it's not bad at all. Stop whining and start looking at your candidate for President to see why she's patently unable to tell the truth. Maybe the reason you see untruths in the media is because she's telling them.

Posted by: brianrf | April 3, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Well it seems Chris that you are going to continue the Obama love fest and trash Hillary, or are you going to have an Obama Rev Wright redux as well?

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | April 3, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

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