Hillary’s Foreign Policy Memories

By Jennifer Parker

Mar 18, 2008 5:38pm

She visited more than 80 counties as First Lady, so it’s only natural that she’d confuse some facts here and there. Some of those facts have come under the microscope as of late — as with her sniper-threatened landing in Bosnia, which comedian Sinbad has questioned.

Today Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, at an event with former Ambassador Joe Wilson, said, "I’m delighted to be here with Ambassador Wilson. He and I did travel together to Africa and, sort of, paved the way for the president’s trip the following year, which was historic."

That Africa trip was in March 1997.

Wilson didn’t start as Senior Director for African Affairs at the NSC until later that year.

Is it possible Clinton was confusing Wilson with Susan Rice, Wilson’s predecessor, who did go with her on that trip?

Rice says yes.

"Actually, Senator Clinton may not recall this, but Joe Wilson did not start at the NSC until some months after her trip to Africa in 1997," Rice says in an email. "I was the senior NSC staffer who accompanied her on that trip."

Not a big deal.

Except for two reasons.

1) Rice is a senior adviser to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and has been harshly critical of the way Clinton has described her foreign policy bona fides, saying the former First Lady has exaggerated them considerably. (Neutral arbiters, such as Factcheck.org, agree.)

2) In hyping her foreign policy experience, Clinton’s memories have run against those of other participants.

- jpt

UPDATE: Let me make clear: the trip Hillary Clinton made which "paved the way" for Bill Clinton’s historic trip to Africa was in 1997. Bill Clinton’s historic trip was in 1998.

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