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Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Clinton admits Bosnia 'mistake'

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 24 March 2008
A Clinton aide earlier said she "misspoke" about the visit

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has said she made a mistake in claiming that she came under sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia in the 1990s.

"It proves I'm human," she said in Pennsylvania ahead of the key primary election vote there on 22 April.

Her aides earlier admitted she "misspoke" in claiming she and daughter Chelsea "ran with our heads down" when arriving in Bosnia in 1996.

Aides to key rival Barack Obama argue she overstates her foreign experience.

'Revelation'

In her speech last week, Mrs Clinton said: "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."

Barack Obama campaigns in Medford, Oregon, 22 March 2008
Mr Obama's campaign accuses Mrs Clinton of inflating her role

But a video clip played by CBS on Monday showed Mrs Clinton and Chelsea walking across the tarmac smiling and waving before stopping to shake hands with Bosnia's acting president and meet an eight-year-old girl.

Mrs Clinton said in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday: "So I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation."

Mrs Clinton had been criticised for insulting the US soldiers in charge of her security.

She said the "military and the Secret Service did a terrific job" and that the key issue was whether she would make a better commander in chief than Democratic nomination rival Mr Obama or the Republican candidate John McCain.

The Obama campaign issued a statement which carried links to the video clip on the YouTube networking site.

A spokesman for the Illinois senator, Tommy Vietor, said in a statement that the story "joins a growing list of instances in which Senator Clinton has exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policy-making".

Mrs Clinton has tried to change the subject by revisiting last week's controversy over fiery sermons given by Mr Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, telling a Pennsylvania-based newspaper that she would have left Mr Wright's church.

"He would not have been my pastor," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted her as saying. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."

Mr Obama gave a major speech on race relations last week in response to the furore over Mr Wright's remarks but, while condemning what he said, refused to "disown" him.

Focus on economy

Mrs Clinton is continuing to campaign in Pennsylvania this week, while Mr Obama has taken a brief holiday. He is to embark on a six-day bus tour across the state on Friday, his aides said.

John McCain speaks at an event in Orange County, California, 25 Mar 2008
Mr McCain said he would not play politics with the housing crisis

Mr Obama is ahead of Mrs Clinton in terms of the number of delegates won in primary elections so far.

The delegates will choose in August which candidate is to be the party's nominee in November's presidential election, standing against Mr McCain.

Mr McCain addressed the nation's economic concerns at a campaign event in southern California on Tuesday.

The Arizona senator is keen to counter arguments that he lacks experience in that field, as the US economic downturn continues.

Mr McCain, speaking in Orange County, urged banks to pass on some of the aid they had received from the federal government to people struggling to pay their mortgages.

"They've been asking the government to help them out," he said. "I'm now calling upon them to help their customers, and their nation, out."

He said he would leave all options open for dealing with current US economic troubles and would "not allow dogma to override common sense".

"I will not play election-year politics with the housing crisis," he said.


You have been sending in your reaction to this story:

Hold the front page, a politician has lied! Really, is anybody surprised? Politics is a profession which is designed to reward liars. If you are honest you end up like Ron Paul. Let me make this easy for those who follow Clinton, Obama, McCain, Cameron or Brown: if you believe these people you will be disappointed. Mrs Clinton is simply following a family tradition.
Ahmed, London, UK

Was there ever a time when Hillary was under sniper fire? I think that she will do and or say anything to be in the news. I wish she would man up and drop out of the race because she is dividing the democratic party witch needs unity to defeat the republicans. She is down by almost 150 delegates, it is time to throw in the towel.
Aaron, Chicago, USA

Senator Clinton continually implies that she has the necessary foreign policy experience. I'm sorry but accompanying her husband, going shopping and accepting flowers from little children while her husband is embroiled in one-on-one negotiations with the Irish (Republicans and Unionists) or the Palestinians and Israelis simply does not qualify. What the United States is in need of is a different approach to the world's unique problems and the only candidate who will offer this is Barack Obama.
Abdul M. Ismail, Liverpool, UK

I (Republican, so not voting in the primary) live in one of the fastest growing counties (150,000 people in the county) in Pennsylvania. It is rural, yet, as it borders New Jersey, it has seen heavy immigration of minorities and urbanites in the past decade. One would think it would be a county where Clinton and Obama would be forced to battle hard. However, the Clinton campaign appears to be much more organized here and I'd predict a victory for Hillary here. However, both my wife and mother are democrats and are favoring Obama.
Adam Christmann, Canadensis, Pennsylvania, USA

Personally, I don't want any of these people to be my president. My right to vote also includes my right to "withhold" my vote as a form of public protest. None of these people are fit to represent me.
Scott Gabriel, Bunker Hill, IL, USA

Mrs Clinton 'misspoke' i.e She lied.
Ahmad Desai, Bridgetown, Barbodos

When I read this article, it reminds me of a quote by Plato, in which he stated "The rulers of states are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying." However thats politics, lies are another tool of statecraft used to deceive our enemies, but Senator Clinton doesn't have that privilege. She shouldn't resort to deception of the US population in order to win an election, as we the people are not the enemy.
Austin Hsu, Honolulu, Hawaii USA

Mrs Clinton has been busted once again. She needs to be reminded that the race is not for the Office of First Lady. They are running for the office of President. So her expereince as First Lady should not override the candidate with better judgment; which is why Obama is leading; which is why he is the next President of the United States.I am very positive that the truth will surely come to light about her so-called foreign relations experience which she seems to have over exaggerated.
Alhassan Kargbo, USA

This is just the most blatant of countless examples of Senator Clinton's claims to administrative experience based on no more than the fact that she was the wife of a president. It's a darn shame the US news media haven't called her on this before. Well, better late than never, although they had to rely on the Obama campaign to do the expose for them.
Andrew Boehm, Santa Barbara, CA, USA 93101

So, Mrs. Clinton was mistaken, I can accept that, perhaps she just confused another event. So I would like to know, when it was that she had the experience she "mistakenly" thought was in Bosnia. If she had that experience at some other time, then sure, mistakes happen. If not and she is completely falsifying her experiences, then that is something we American people need to know, especially with her running as the "experience" candidate.
Adam , overland park, ks, USA

How can anyone take this woman seriously after this? If she can mislead people over this, then what else will she be prepared to lie to the world about?
Alex, Coventry, UK

After the US invaded Iraq, I changed my registration from Democrat to Green because I was so angry at the Democrats for knuckling under to Bush. But I've re-registered to Democrat so I can vote for Barak Obama in the PA primary. As a veteran of the '60's civil rights and peace movement, and life-long frustrated Laborite (no viable Labor/Socialist party here), I'm thrilled to see this sudden shift in US politics. Don't know if it's enough to change our direction, but there is definitely a happier political sense here than has been for the last eight (or maybe 40) years. Wish we were a retired empire like you Brits. I know you have your problems, but I would gladly trade them for those of being a powerless citizen of a barbaric, gluttonous empire.
Barbara Bloomfield, Wyndmoor, PA

Hillary Clinton is pursuing what she considers her "birth right" to the presidency. She is getting caught up in her own desperation to get elected. Unfortuately you can NEVER force an issue and win. My guess is that the more desperate she becomes the more the brass ring will slip away.

Is she going to be hard to live with if she doesn't get elected, whew!! Poor Bill, I'm smiling.
Beth, RTP, USA

It's scary that Mrs. Clinton would lie about such an event. Which not only impact on her but also shed a bad image on the Bosnian people, her security and the US military. Cannot Be Trusted! What other lies have told in her bid to get into the White House? She should be disqualified or withdrawn by the party.
Michae Walker, KIngston, Jamaica




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