Clinton Bosnia Account Comes Under Fire

By Nitya

Mar 24, 2008 3:14pm

ABC News’ Eloise Harper and Nitya Venkataraman Report: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been receiving heat for her account of a trip she took to Bosnia as First Lady, most recently in a clip that splices her account with CBS footage of the 1996 visit being circulated by the Obama campaign.

It has been disputed whether Clinton was embellishing the risk she faced during the landing in Tuzla and the trip overall. Most recently, Clinton said they landed in an "evasive maneuver" "under sniper fire".

At an event in Washington last Monday, Sen. Clinton said, "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

After CBS video surfaced of the 1996 visit to Bosnia showing no visible threat and a calm greeting ceremony on the tarmac in Tuzla  – Clinton’s account was again called into question.

Today on a conference call with reporters, Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson, defended Clinton but said that she may have "misspoke" in her most recent description of the trip.

In Clinton’s account of the same visit in her autobiography "Living History" she describes a near-perpendicular landing to evade possible ground fire" but talks about the greeting ceremony on the tarmac in Tuzla with local schoolchildren though says it was cut short "due to reports of snipers in the hills around the airstrip".

During the event on the tarmac, Clinton writes in her autobiography "One eight year old girl gave me a copy of a poem she had written entitled "Peace". Chelsea and I presented the school supplies we had brought….We were then hustled off to the fortified American base at Tuzla, where over two thousand American, Russian, Canadian, British, and Polish soldiers were encamped in a large tent city."

UPDATE

In an editorial board meeting with the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, Clinton revised her Bosnia story, admitting there was a "misstatement" in her account describing running with her head down to get into the vehicles. Today, she said that she "had to meet this 8-year-old girl," so, "I took her stuff and left."

When Clinton was challenged by a reporter that this revised account calls into question her foreign policy credentials, Clinton then said, "No, I went to 80 countries, you know. I gave contemporaneous accounts, I wrote about a lot of this in my book. You know, I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things — millions of words a day — so, if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement."

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