Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton says she "misspoke" when she said she had landed under sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia in 1996. She said it was a "minor blip." Well, not exactly.

She said "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." The Associated Press reported on the trip and said Clinton was under no extraordinary risks. A traveling companion said he didn't remember gunfire or the threat of gunfire. And Mrs. Clinton herself says in her book that "Due to reports of snipers...around the airstrip, we were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac with local children, though we did have time to meet them and their teachers...." No canceled event, no running for the vehicles. There's also a video that shows Mrs. Clinton and her daughter walking across the tarmac, smiling, waving and shaking hands.

The obvious question, not easily answered, is: what gets into them? In the first place, being shot at is something you'd probably remember. I covered a number of wars when I was a young reporter and I don't remember every time the units I was with drew fire, but that was forty-some years ago and, if it had only happened once, I expect I would remember it. Wouldn't you?

So she made it up to impress people with what a warrior she's been and what a good commander-in-chief she'd be? But why? She's an intelligent woman; she must have remembered there were reporters and photographers along and so an exaggerated version of what happened would be found out and exposed. Besides, her husband was commander in chief for eight years and he'd been a draft dodger.

I think the simplest explanation may be the true one. You get very tired campaigning--all those sixteen-hour days saying the same things over and over and over again, and when you get very tired your tongue, or maybe your brain, slips for a moment. And I don't think it has much to do with her qualifications to be president.

Presidents have a big staff, a big house, and a nice office. They lead much more sheltered lives than the candidates do.

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