AP Bashes Hillary's Bosnia Gaffe, Likens it to Gore Inventing the Internet

As NewsBusters has been reporting, media are finally lining up to bash Hillary Clinton for her recent gaffe concerning fictitious sniper fire when she visited Bosnia in 1996.

Next to take the gloves off was the Associated Press's Ron Fournier who deliciously likened this misstatement during a presidential campaign to Al Gore implying in 2000 that he invented the Internet.

Get yourself a fresh cup of coffee, kick your feet up on the desk, and prepare yourself for some unexpected hits that came early and often in Fournier's article published Tuesday evening (emphasis added throughout):

Why wasn't the truth good enough for Hillary Rodham Clinton?

That's a question worth considering as the former first lady tries to contain damage to her credibility after getting caught exaggerating the danger of her 1996 trip to Bosnia. [...]

[D]uring a speech last week on Iraq, Clinton stretched the truth to the breaking point. "I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia and ... there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the first lady. That's where we went. I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

Hogwash. The truth is:

_ There was no sniper fire.

_ Nobody ducked for cover.

_ Bad weather, not security concerns, kept her husband from making the same trip a few months earlier.

Clinton and her aides stood behind the story _ which she has told more than once _ until video surfaced showing the former first lady, her daughter, Chelsea, and their entourage strolling off the plane and walking calmly across the tarmac.

Make sure those seatbelts are fastened tightly, for it's about to get very bumpy for Hillary:

What makes Clinton's situation unique _ and the Bosnia embellishments so damaging _ is the fact that the New York senator has built her candidacy on the illusion of experience. Any attack on her credentials is a potential Achilles heel.

As first lady, she did not attend National Security Council meetings, did not receive the presidential daily briefing on terrorism and other threats and did not have a top level security clearance. Her foreign trips were glorified goodwill tours, a collection of photo opportunities and sightseeing trips. [...]

And so the best explanation for her Bosnia embellishment may be this simple, and this human: She's overcompensating.

That would explain why it wasn't good enough to say she visited Northern Ireland five times and urged the rivals to make peace. No, Clinton claims she "helped bring peace to Northern Ireland."

She didn't just urge the Macedonian government to open its borders to refugees. No, she "negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo."

And here are the money paragraphs:

Polls show that voters wonder about Clinton's honesty and authenticity. The Bosnia story plays to that character issue. As former Vice President Al Gore could tell her, once the media and voters start doubting a candidate's integrity, every episode that fits that narrative gets blown out of proportion.

Gore never said he invented the Internet; his mistake was to place himself more centrally than warranted at the creation of the technology. But such nuance was lost on people who voted against him in 2000.

Hmmm. Those last two sentences seem rather nuanced themselves, wouldn't you agree?

Regardless, Fournier is right: media smell blood in the water, and at least for the time being, it appears this gaffe is going to be tough for Clinton to separate herself from.

Isn't it glorious? 

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Associated Press Ron Fournier
Noel Sheppard's picture