March 25, 2008

Hillary Under Fire

You may remember that as First Lady, Hillary Clinton took her daughter on a state visit to Bosnia, and when their plane landed in Tuzla, there was a big panic because they and their greeting party came under sniper fire. Everyone had to scramble and there was a big panic because it looked like the bad guys were trying to take out the First Lady and the First Daughter.

If you don't remember that, well, Senator Clinton did remember it, and she made reference to that in a campaign stop recently: "I remember landing under sniper fire. 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. "

Wow. Must have been quite traumatic. The sort of thing that an untrained civilian would not soon forget. The sort of thing that demonstrates her coolness under fire (literally, in this case) and her fitness and competence to handle dangerous, emergency situations. The sort of thing that should give you confidence if she's the one who has to answer that red phone at three in the morning.

And in this day and age, everything gets captured on film. So, like I say, you may have forgotten the incident -- after all, she and Chelsea made it through okay and no one actually got hurt due to the apparent incompetence of the Bosnian rebel snipers. Which wouldn't have taken away from the scariness of being out on an exposed runway while someone was taking shots at her and her daughter.

Here, then, is the video of then-First Lady Clinton's harrowing experience:

If you were waiting for the part where there was sniper fire, you'll have to look elsewhere. Turns out, the Senator "misspoke" when describing the event. There wasn't so much sniper fire going on as a bunch of Bosnian dignitaries and schoolchildren shaking her hand and doing the old-fashioned meet-and-greet out there on the tarmac. In fact, one might have described the event this way:
Due to reports of snipers in the hills 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 and to learn how hard they had worked during the war to continue classes in any safe spot they could find.
The author of that particular politicians-under-direct-fire passage would be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton herself, in her book Living History. Question: When does a "misstatement" become a "lie"?

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