Obama Campaign Revives Attack Over Clinton’s ‘Bosnia’ Account

By MichaelJames

Apr 19, 2008 5:13pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller and Kate Snow report: Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign has reinvigorated its attack against Sen. Hillary Clinton, today rolling out three Bosnian war veterans to make the case that Clinton was dishonorable when she made inaccurate comments about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia.

Clinton has admitted that her campaign trail claim that she dodged sniper fire in 1996 while landing in Tuzla airport in Bosnia was a misstatement.

At Wednesday’s ABC News debate, she said, “I’m embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it.  I’ve said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over.”

But today, it was clear the Obama campaign was not ready to look over this issue, calling a conference call with reporters and offering up veterans who have faced sniper fire to take issue with Clinton’s claim.

U.S. Maj. Gen. Walter Stewart called Clinton’s misstatement a “dishonor” that showed a lack of moral authority. 

Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Michael Kotyk called Clinton’s statement a whopper and said, “If she’s gonna tell stories like that is as candidate, what will she do when she’s standing in front of Congress? … How do you expect your troops to follow you if you’re not providing good leadership?”

The veterans argued that the misstatement wasn’t their issue. It was what her statement showed about Clinton’s honesty level.

“This isn’t about misspeaking,” Stewart argued. “This is about your character.”

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson shot back (so to speak) on a conference call with reporters.

“Boy when the Obama campaign decides to go negative, they really go negative!” Wolfson said.

Wolfson noted that at Wednesday night’s debate, Obama had said his campaign only talked about Clinton’s misstatements on the Tuzla incident when officials were asked by reporters.

"Today, on a Saturday before the election, they have a conference call?"  Wolfson asked rhetorically. “This is part of the attack, attack, attack on this last weekend here."

The roll out of the veterans’ attack on Clinton came on the day of Obama’s train tour of Pennsylvania.

Obama, on his four-city, whistle-stop tour, reinvigorated his own attacks of Clinton in a state where he has been consistently trailing in the polls.

“She also believes that, you know, the nature of politics is that you say what people want to hear,” Obama said at a stop at the Paoli train station.

He then referenced Clinton’s stance on NAFTA: “So maybe you say something about trade when you’re campaigning with your husband eight, 10, 12 years ago. You say something different now [when] you’re campaigning in Ohio or Pennsylvania."

Obama continued, “She’s taken different positions at different times on issues as fundamental as trade, or even the war, to suit the politics of the moment. And when she gets caught at it, the notion is, ‘Well, you know what, that’s just politics. That’s how it works in Washington. You can say one thing here and say another thing there.’"

At his first train stop of the day, Obama offered up a critique of controversies and gaffes that were picked apart on the campaign trail.

“I’m not interested in having a debate about flag pins,” Obama said, referring to the discussion about his decision to not wear a flag pin on his lapel. Obama said that change can only come if “we deliver independence from the petty, trivial nonsense.”

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