Hillary Clinton has many admirable qualities, but candor and openness and transparency and a commitment to well-established fact have not been notable among them. The indisputable elements of her Bosnian adventure affirm (again) the reluctant conclusion I reached in the final chapter of A Woman In Charge, my biography of her published last June:
“Since her Arkansas years [I wrote], Hillary Rodham Clinton has always had a difficult relationship with the truth... [J]udged against the facts, she has often chosen to obfuscate, omit, and avoid. It is an understatement by now that she has been known to apprehend truths about herself and the events of her life that others do not exactly share. " [italics added]
As I noted:
“Almost always, something holds her back from telling the whole story, as if she doesn’t trust the reader, listener, friend, interviewer, constituent—or perhaps herself—to understand the true significance of events…”
The Bosnian episode is a watershed event, because it indelibly brings to mind so many examples of this tendency– from the White House years and, worse, from Hillary Clinton’s take-no-prisoners presidential campaign. Her record as a public person is replete with “misstatements” and elisions and retracted and redacted and revoked assertions...
When the facts surrounding such characteristic episodes finally get sorted out - usually long after they have been challenged - the mysteries and contradictions are often dealt with by Hillary Clinton and her apparat in a blizzard of footnotes, addenda, revision, and disingenuous re-explanation: as occurred in regard to the draconian secrecy she imposed on her health-care task force (and its failed efforts in 1993-94); explanations of what could have been dutifully acknowledged, and deserved to be dismissed as a minor conflict of interest - once and for all - in Whitewater; or her recent Michigan-Florida migration from acceptance of the DNC’s refusal to recognize those states’ convention delegations (when it looked like she had the nomination sewn up) to her re-evaluation of the matter as a grave denial of basic human rights, after she fell impossibly behind in the delegate count.The latest episode - the sniper fire she so vividly remembered and described in chilling detail to buttress her claims of foreign policy “experience” - like the peace she didn’t bring to Northern Ireland, recalls another famous instance of faulty recollection during a crucial period in her odyssey.On January 15, 1995, she had just published her book, It Takes a Village, intended to herald a redemptive “come back” after the ravages of health care; Whitewater; the Travel Office firings she had ordered (but denied ordering); the disastrous staffing of the White House by the First Lady, not the President - all among the egregious errors that had led to the election of the Newt Gingrich Congress in 1994.On her book tour, she was asked on National Public Radio about the re-emergence of dormant Whitewater questions that week, when the so-called “missing billing records” had been found. Hillary stated with unequivocal certainty that she had consistently made public all the relevant documents related to Whitewater, including “every document we had,” to the editors of the New York Times before the newspaper’s original Whitewater story ran during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.
Even her closest aides - as in the case of the Bosnian episode18 years later - could not imagine what possessed her to say such a thing. It was simply not true, as her lawyers and the editors of the Times (like CBS in the latest instance) recognized, leading to huge stories about her latest twisting of the facts. “Oh my God, we didn’t,” said Susan Thomasas, Hillary’s great friend, who was left to explain to the White House lawyers exactly how Hillary’s aides had carefully cherry-picked documents accessed for the Times in the presidential campaign. The White House was forced - once again - to acknowledge the first lady had been ‘mistaken;” her book tour was overwhelmed by the matter, and Times’ columnist Bill Safire that month coined the memorable characterization of Hillary Clinton as “a congenital liar.”
“Hillary values context; she does see the big picture. Hers, in fact, is not the mind of a conventional politician,” I wrote in A Woman In Charge. “But when it comes to herself, she sees with something less than candor and lucidity. She sees, like so many others, what she wants to see.”
The book concludes with this paragraph:
“As Hillary has continued to speak from the protective shell of her own making, and packaged herself for the widest possible consumption, she has misrepresented not just facts but often her essential self. Great politicians have always been marked by the consistency of their core beliefs, their strength of character in advocacy, and the self-knowledge that informs bold leadership. Almost always, Hillary has stood for good things. Yet there is a disconnect between her convictions and her words and actions. This is where Hillary disappoints. But the jury remains out. She still has time to prove her case, to effectuate those things that make her special, not fear them or camouflage them. We would all be the better for it, because what lies within may have the potential to change the world, if only a little.”
The jury - armed with definitive evidence like the CBS tape of Hillary Clinton’s Bosnian adventure - seems on the verge of returning a negative verdict on her candidacy.
– Carl Bernstein, 360° Contributor Editor's note: Read other blogs from the 360° team of contributors at cnn.com/360
Filed under: Carl Bernstein • Raw Politics
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Hillary isn't in hot water for one or two misspoken words. She's caught in dozens of falsifications and blatant distortions and lies. The "give me a break, I made a mistake" line works once. It doesn't work a hundred times.
"The media" isn't favoring Obama. They're reporting news. Hillary's expectation to be accepted in the highest office in the country while clumsily tripping over her own tangled web of lies is VERY much news.
For all those saying "I bet you'd find a lot if you digged deep enough on Obama," this line is comical. Why would anyone believe that Hillary DOESN'T have people digging up anything they can find on Obama?
Carl Bernstein is right. This has been Hillary from Day One. She is more comfortable with the lie, the obfuscation. It's what she does. She has been given so many chances to redeem herself, to become what she has the potential to become. This one finally proves she cannot do it. She is a desperate woman doing whatever she can – and therein lies the sadness.
Lets assume for a moment that she really misremembered. If she thought that area was so dangerous and that she was arriving under sniper fire, why would she take her daughter to this environment? If the situation was so dangerous, who would take their child and risk them being shot?
No one has ever in the history of mankind misspoke and accidently said they were under sniper fire when what they meant to say was something else. I have never in my life started to say that I was going to the grocery store and came under sniper fire. I have never in my life spoke about a vacation I went on and called it "too dangerous" for my husband to go so he sent me, our child and some artists and we came under sniper fire.
She's either a world calss liar or delusional. Neither one qualifies her for President of the United States...I think that much has been proven over the last 7 years, no?
Hillary didn't simply embellish the episode during her trip to Bosnia. She outright invented it to be euphemistic! Embellishing is to say that you fought ferociously against 100 guys, when there were only two three guys. Saying you fought against 100 guys when you were sipping a Chamomile tee at the neighborhood Starbux, it something entirely different.
At the end of the day, you can tell who a person is by the CHARACTER they possess. Words shape your emotions, emotions shape your thinking, thinking shape your actions, your actions shape your character, and your character determines your destiny.
Whenever a person will lie it is quiet clear who and what you are dealing with. For those who chose to ignore it are just as foolish as the person telling the lie.
Too bad Hill and all the others can't live in the real world. If I lied on an application I would either not get the job or I would be fired. They will never come down to the people's level and our concerns. I would like to help my family survive the economy and health care. Silly me.
As a voter I really wish the media would refrain from focusing on such irrelevant issues. We are not interested. So what if Hillary either made a mistake about something totally unrelated to her candidacy or even stretched the truth. Its unrelated and unimportant. She doesnt seem to be the favorite with the media and is taking unfair hits.
We have real issues to deal with like the bad economy and the war in iraq not to mention the mortgage crisis so things like this do not matter one bit. She is still the most qualified candidate and that is all that matters. And she is not the only one who has stretched the truth or avoided the truth.
Ed from Santa Fe. You stole my words. Lies do matter. We have endured 7 years of lies from Bush and his cronies. The thought of another liar in the white house frightens me. I used to be a Hillary supporter, but no more. Her style is not one that I want to see from my President. There is nothing conciliatory or trustworthy about her. Her beliefs change day to day, depending on who she is trying to woo.
So we impeach Bill because he lied, many WANT to impeach Bush because he lied yet so many still want to elect Hillary despite her lies. Something seems amiss.
Al Gore for President 2008!
Plain and sinple: a lot of veterans really got shot at in Bosnia (and kosovo, and Vietnam, for that matter). For Hillary to claim that she was under fire when she was not is a slap in the face to those who actually were. We need a president who does not try to "spin" war stories and will stand on their own experience.
I started out way back at the beginning supporting Hillary, but ended up making the switch to Obama. No reason at that time other than Obama was somewhat inspiring and I liked the positives.
In the back of my mind I guess I had thought well enough of Hillary to vote for her as a back-up in case Obama lost the primaries.
But now, after Hillery's blatant power grabs, starting with wanting to change over to the FL & MI voters after originally signing off, proceeding to highly personal attacks on Obama starting with her claim that McCain would be a better choice as leader than Obama (!!!) and generally demonstrating that she would rather keep pursuing this strategy than run on issues alone, I cannot and will not vote for her.
I'd actually cross-over to McCain before she gets my vote and I suspect that she's going to so damage her image that she'll be lucky to keep her post as NY Senator.
I'm a mid-fifties white male who's taken the time to research claims on both sides of this, in other words I played Wright's ENTIRE sermon and in context, and as far as I'm concerned, if I was Black, I'd agree with him.
If Hillary kills the best chance in years to rid ourselves of the Republican dominated White House Administration by her divisive lies and mud-slinging, she'll never make a comeback politically...NEVER.
Hillary and Bill Clinton. Whether you people like them or not, have passed more legislation improving peoples lives in this country then any of you. I ask you, what have you ever done to help others?
It does matter that she lied. She claimed to be ducking sniper fire when in reality a little girl was reading a poem she dedicated to her. This reflects her true character. Oh... got to go, its 3a.m. and my phone is ringing.
As an independent I wouldn't vote for hillary any more than I would for President Bush again. Both divided the country just like her husband did. Liberals think President Bush diviided the country while actually the more conservative of us know that it happened 8 years before when President Clinton was in office. It just was reversed when President Bush was elected. We need someone who will move the country forward and I would vote for Obama long before Hillary. She will just keep the country divided and tied up with her power struggles and quest for more power.
Maybe no one can bring everyone together but we need someone new, not the same old thing.
I like John McCain better 8 years ago but at least he is better than reelecting another Clinton or Bush.
I'll admit that I have never liked or trusted Hillary, and her campaign has only served to reinforce my opinions. There is one thing that really scares me, though. When I look at the people she has surrounded herself with in her campaign and in her past, I have serious doubts about her ability to pick a decent, competent, and honorable cabinet. The potential damage from that group could haunt us for years. The way her team has run the campaign and long history of deceit and shady dealings is reason to suspect that her presidency would be a disaster.
"honesty, sincerity, forthrightness, ability to unite and inspire, and placing the welfare of his constituents over his own.:
This is the definition of a LEADER. Thank you.
I have said it to friends, family, and colleagues a hundred times. I can't vote for Hillary because she's a liar and she has no discernable core values.
This latest incident can't possibly be the first time people recognized this character flaw.
Thank goodness for Carl Bernstein, who has valiantly tried to alert the media and the voting public about the deception and distortion practiced by Hillary Clinton at almost every turn. The so-called "mistake" about what happened at the airport in Bosnia was yet one more effort on Senator Clinton's part to aggrandize her credentials to support the entirely specious claim that she is "ready on day one" to be commander-in-chief, all at the expense of Barack Obama's candidacy. The Bosnia story was repeated for several days running - complete with drama - before the real facts were brought to light by alert members of the press. This was not a "mistake;" instead Hillary Clinton was "found out" and then had to make some excuse. This is all part of the carefully, and cynically calculated effort on the part of her campaign to promote her role in national security affairs, when, in fact, as First Lady, she had no security clearance, did not participate in National Security Council meetings, and did not receive intelligence or national security briefings. While she attempted to run other parts of the Clinton White House, most particularly White House personnel, national security affairs were not in her self-appointed portfolio. I read Mr. Bernstein's book, Woman in Charge, with my hair on fire, while I learned the documented truth of the Clinton Administration. Hillary Clinton would like everyone to believe that she is the embodiment of Mother Therese and Oliver Wendell Holmes (and now perhaps General George Patton as well ), when, in fact, she is and was nothing more than a small time, small town lawyer who handled the seamy legal affairs of local Little Rock clients as a partner in a law firm of dubious distinction. I remain hopeful that informed Americans will finally wake up to the shallowness of her credentials and the disaster that would result from a replay of the seriously flawed Clinton I Administration.
I thought you were brilliant with "All the President's Men." Since then, you've gone down hill and are now obsessed with bringing down Senator Clinton. You cannot possibly write about Clinton in any kind of objective manner. Your bias (and dislike bordering on hatred) is so transparent, I am embarrased for you as a former, top-notch journalist.
This is an op-ed piece, not "the news." You keep trying to portray yourself as "objective" when discussing Senator Clinton and it's hopeless. The very thing you blame Clinton for, hiding out and obfuscating, you also do.
I am so tired of hearing about Obama's pastor. Before we pass judgment on his pastor I think we should get some footage of Hillary's pastor and see how they match up or anyone else's for that matter. I do not think you will find too many people without the challenges of racial profiling and racial divides. Whether it is a black, white or gay, issue- there will always be something. This is what Obama has challenged our country to look at and recognize the need to overcome. Obama has been forthright in speaking about racial divides. Obama showed courage, genuine character and his commitment to our country.
On the other hand Hillary has been running a dirty campaign for months now and does not care if she brings down our democratic party while doing so. Now we find out she has been lying to us to for months to win the election. How can we trust someone like that in the white house? My vote continues to be for Obama.
You people are SO naive!! Hillary, like McCain & Obama are All Politicians.. They ALL Lie & Exagerate! That's why you have to ignore their flowery speeches & go by their record & the facts!
If I can't vote for Hilary, it'll be for McCain!
Obama? No Way!! He's all flowery speeches but No Experience, No record & His judgement of sticking w & trying to excuse away his racist, anti-American Church & Preacher disqualifies him on the spot!
I'm not running for any office But I'd dump my Rabbi & Synagogue IMMEDIATELY if his sermon.. just once.. cursed America / spewed the racist hate that Obama's preacher did! Wouldn't you?? Do you really want a Prez. who didn't ??? If not HILLARY, Then McCain!!
I did not support NAFTA, my husband did it? infact she is creatde nafta ,I feel the middle classes pain? I will provide 200,000 jobs for upper state NY.
Obama is being raked over the coals for something HE did not say-some one else said.But what H Clinton said came out of her own mouth and they were LIES. She did not do this once but many time! She says 'misstatements' are due to memory, not being perfect,being human, she laughs, ok then, a president whos memory is shot?
call it what it is, a lie. more lies? lies
I love it when the Clintonians try and deflect the short commings of their beloved Hillary to the fault with Obama. Their Only mantra now is to revive the Wright story, and try to paint Obama as closet hate monger. Their logic is since he sat in the church for 20 years, obviously pastor Wright spewed hateful, evil messages from the pulpit each and every Sunday so it had to sink in and have an effect on the memebers of the church.
Only one problem, everyone who has spoken about pastor Wright says just the opposite and agree with Sen. Obama that the soundbites being played are out of character of the person they know.
And I have not seen any proof that Pastor Wright taught those types of messages every week nor have I seen proof that Sen. Obama attended church every week. If you have proof, please post it.
I sure hope Hillary doesn't answer the phone at 3 a.m. and think there's sniper fire.
Being a liar is pretty serious. Serious enough to warrant not electing her president, so i'm ok with the coverage.
Further on the idea about not throwing the first stone. I think that is perfect when you are talking about judging or hurting someone. But we are talking about electing her president, i think it is fair to bring up that person's ability to be honest. Goes straight to their ability to do the job.
What is wrong with you people? The facts are the facts with video footage of Hilllary getting caught in an embarrassing LIE. And is not just this once. So in your blindness and unyielding support I ask you this. When did we no longer care about integrity, honesty and the President as a person we and our children should look up to. Bush and Hillary...what great examples of why none of us tell our children that they can someday grow up to be President of the United States. What a shame! If your kids lie to you today, are you just going to say, "well, noone was killed by it?"
Clinton’s response was merely a political tactic to focus attention off of her overly exaggerated Bosnia comments.
Clinton needs to accept the reality of her limited Foreign Service experience and move on.
Nothing is gained by tearing the American voters apart just to win the nod.
Race relations among the diverse nationalities in America must be healed, not further damaged beyond repair.
Is she capable of uniting the American people? It appears she may lack this vital capability.
If she can’t even promote a united front and accept her weaknesses, how can she ever deal with the international leaders in an honest and forthright manner? Remember, they too are reading the same press releases the American people are. And her integrity (foreign policy experience) is questionable.
The Democratic Party needs to promote themselves as positive candidates and discuss their plans to improve the economy, jobs, education, etc,.
Comparing Obama's issue with Hillary's is crazy. I am sorry but I would never never never forget the facts surrounding someone potentially shooting at me or not. So she either lied or she forgot the details of something that was very significant. Either way, I would not someone that can screw that up to be my President.
By the way, I am concerned about Obama also. Just in case you want to think I am being bias.
Why was there not an article like this when Obama first stated he never heard controversial remarks from Wright, and then admitted of course he did, or when he said Rezko was pretty much a non issue, which turned into him admitting he received $250K from him? The media is so biased against Hillary Clinton, it is not even funny. As a hardcore liberal, it saddens me that I have to watch FOX NEWS of all places to find a non biased presentation of the news.
And I'm not really sure why this is such an issue regarding her experience. She was still in Bosnia, wasn't she? She still went all across the world... meeting so many incredibly important and influential people. I honestly don't know what to make of her statement, whether it was just a blip or a fabrication, but it does not change my mind on her foreign policy experience.
Dude and Dudettes please take off your Billary polarized sunglasses!!! She is a LIAR!!!! she was busted and thats that. I am not an Obama supporter but a LIE!! is a LIE!! I will be glad when this is over so I dont have to read all these silly post by blind lemmings who will follow their choice for candidate off of a cliff wheather shes a LIAR!! or not..and the feeble attempts to gloss over it or point at others like a child and scream" well momma he did some bad stuff too"!!!
It is a given that Hillary is a "congenital liar." What is absolutely amazing is that anyone still supports her, much less bothers to listen to her. She does provide entertainment, as her rogue husband did. But she will never be president.
I just heard where Hillary also told a story about her daughter Chelse(not sure of the spelling) was right at groung 0 during 911. Hillary said that Chelse was takinga jog on that daty and had just jogged around the towers and stopped at a coffee shop to grab a cup when the planes hit. Chelse said in a article today that she was actually at a freinds house several miles away from ground 0 when it happened. Whats going on with Hillary. She really may need to seek help for this. Lie after lie. She lies about simple things that wil easily catch up with you.
It is disappointing (yet again) that Ms. Clinton chooses to make unnecessary lies and most importantly that she lies about her capabilities as a foreign policy leader.
I do not think people are perfect. Hence, it is one thing to lie about your personal life, but when you are interviewing for a job, I could care less about your personal life, but don't lie to me about how well you can do the job. Hence, I anticipate that to vote for Ms. Clinton is to vote for another future disappointment.
Based on her lies about her career abilities, Ms. Clinton should no longer be considered for the position.
Ms. Clinton, you're fired!
Senator Clinton should just stick to the truth. Whatever she thinks it is.
What are Democrats doing?
In 1992, I remember working to get Bill Clinton elected president. The group of people I was working with, as I passed out leaflets and knocked on doors, included white men, hispanics, blacks and white women. We all put aside our obvious experiential and other differences and worked together with little thought (at the time) of those differences. Fast forward to the present day: In the space of several weeks (the time leading up to 4 March to the present), Hillary Clinton, with her negative "kitchen sink" strategy, has managed to significantly undermine that coalition of people and called into focus differences, as opposed to commonalities.
In perusing some sites normally patronized by so-called democratic readers, I have been shocked at seeing bantering between the core constituencies of the Democratic party. Many of these arguments have used language and concepts I would have suspected at being of Republican origin.
As job-exportations and layoffs continue, as global warming proceeds to irreversible levels, as the infrastructure of the nation deteriorates, and as Americans continue to work longer and harder for less real wages, what are Democrats doing? What proposed solutions make their way into the MAIN ARENA?
What are Democrats doing?
Hillary and Obama are just dispicable people period. Those that support Obama Bin Laden need to understand his ideals are clearly unamerican! Wake up please our country is a mess and with either one of these folks running the show we are surely in deep trouble. Its sad also that McCain may be too old to handle the incredible pressures of office even though I feel he highly qualified and a true blue american hero to boot.
there's a huge difference between sen. obama and sen. clinton. in that, sen. obama tells you like it is, inspite of his critics. the rev. wright's rantings notwithstanding, sen. obama came out and rejected the wordings used. however, if you play fair, you would say the same thing with sen. mccain's minister hagee (sp?), and jerry falwell and their likes who lambasts the blacks, asians and latinos consistently over the years. rev. wright's rantings pale in comparison with these "white" ministers rantings. whether you like or not, rev. wright spoke the truth. he is more american that most americans. he served his country valiantly, when most americans were sitting in their couch.
sen. clinton's very vivid recollection about her "experiences" in bosnia and her "important participation" in the northern ireland treaty, amongst her other "extensive international diplomacy experiences", are not misstatements as she have narrated them so many times over the years. a misstatement happens once. a lie, to a liar, becomes the truth when it's repeated over and over again. if she can lie about these two events, i cringe when i think of how a clinton II administration will be.
running for the highest position in our country, if not the world, needs a candidate with a flawless character. but since none exists, let's pick the one who is honest, trustworthy, one with the right emotional and mental judgment to make the right decisions for us, to pull us out of the morass we are in. sen. clinton sadly do not have these traits.
the world is watching us very carefully. if we falter in our decision, then we lose the confidence of our allies and the rest of the world. let us all shake off our differences and rally behind the true candidate who can truly lead us. sen. obama is not perfect, but with our help, he can pull us out of the troubles and problems we are in right now.
C'mon people - let's be Clinton done. Carls story is just the icing on the cake. . . . let's put someone respectable in the White House.
Do you people know the difference between embellished and out right lying? Hilliary lied, plain and simple.
No one is perfect, but liars are scum. Would you knowingly hire a liar? Would you marry one?
Thank you independent thinker we are on the same page. Think for yourself and make up your own mind please America wake up we have too much riding on this election. Make your choice for the candidate that is best for this country not the candidate that's best for YOU.
Hillary misspoke and Reverend Wright misspoke. But she would have "left his (Wright's) church" for his words therefore we should abandon her candidacy for President for her shortcomings as well. One should never be reluctant to forgive your brother, you never know when you might seek and need forgiveness as well. Food for thought.
Hillary Clinton justify her 'misspoke' over claims of sniper fire in visit to Bosnia as caused by sleep deprived. It strongly indicates that she is not ready to answer the phone in the midnight at the white house!!!!
So much debate...he said/she said...who cares? Fact is...it all doesn't matter.
Please tell me, who is the honest candidate? Which one has NEVER lied, misled, misspoke or exagerrated? Why is there any mudslinging at all by any candidate ever?? Because attention is attention – doesn't matter which kind it is. Positive/negative...doesn't matter. I call you a liar, you call me a liar – we both get attention. You accuse me of this, I accuse you of that – same thing. Where's the candidate EVER that didn't behave this way. And what media outlet has been truly unbiased and objective when it came to reporting it?
Where is the truly honest upstanding politician? Sitting at home reading this stuff online because he/she didn't ever make it past the gate to get elected because no one's ever heard of him/'her. Sad.
It's not about who's best for the job or who will do the best for a country (as evidenced by the fact that Bush was elected for a second term???!!!!!). Politics is (and will ever be) a popularity contest – only we're not in highschool anymore. Very sad.
Hilliary need to back out of the race she is a power hungry witch and she didn't disown bll when he did his dirt and commited adultery she forgave him I know one thing you cannot please everybody'
Hilliary will sell her soul to the devil (Maybe she already did) To get back in the White House(Sometimes it make me wonder why they call it the White House is it because it is painted white or is it something else REALLY REALLY MAKE ME WONDER.
Makes a pretty funny contrast to Obama, where other people see things that aren't there.
The next time that Hillary plans to visit Bosnia or even Iraq why don't you go with her so you can know EXACTLY what it feels like to be there. Maybe if you are lucky, your Blackberry will fit in your pocket inside the bulletproof gear so you won't miss any of Anderson 360 picture jokes.