Trying to defend his better half, Bill Clinton might have made things worse.
The former president told Indiana voters Thursday night that Hillary Clinton has been unfairly maligned for embellishing her description of a humanitarian visit to Bosnia in 1996. On several occasions, she said she landed "under sniper fire," but after video surfaced of her and daughter Chelsea accepting flowers from little girls, she acknowledged that she misspoke. Pundits and critics, however, have been far harsher, accusing her of making up a story to pump up her foreign policy experience.
"A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me," Bill Clinton said in Boonville, Ind. "But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995."
He continued, "And you would of thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they all carried on about this. And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 o'clock at night, too."
But as the Associated Press points out in a fact-checker, Hillary Clinton told the story several times, including during prepared remarks on foreign policy delivered the morning of March 17. She also has never apologized and only acknowledged that she "misspoke" a week after the March 17 speech, after the video emerged.
The former president also was wrong in saying that his wife was the "first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone." Pat Nixon traveled to Saigon during the Vietnam war and Barbara Bush went to Saudi Arabia two months before the launching of Desert Storm, the AP points out.
Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer responded to the former president's remarks by saying today, "Senator Clinton appreciates her husband standing up for her, but this was her mistake and she takes responsibility for it."
He told reporters today that she has instructed him to quit talking about it.
"Hillary called me and said 'You don't remember this. You weren't there, let me handle it.' I said, 'Yes ma'am,' " he said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.