Hillary Clinton story from 2008 campaign

I remember Hillary describing an incident, I think when she was First Lady, about ducking from gunfire while running from a plane. She later admitted that it never happened. Was there ever an explanation for this? Did she just make it up? Did she dream it? How could someone think they experienced something like this, when she hadn’t? I don’t remember hearing any explanation, other than it didn’t happen.

Clinton flew to Bosnia in 1996. During her campaign in 2008, she 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.”

Clinton later said she had “misspoke”. There were snipers shooting at people in the area but they were not targeting Clinton’s plane. Clinton exited the plane normally.

Without any fence(etc) to hide behind, its better to stand up tall when walking under sniper fire… head ducking has the effect of making you easier to hit… because you are wider… You want your body to spend less time in the junction of the snipers cross hairs ,and tall and narrow suits that.
(Sniper can also try to cause the aim to adjust smoothly to follow you, so walk with at a varying gait. )


She should have just mashed the jump button.

If I remember rigght, the whole story is recounted in Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

Expected Headline:

Accusations of Bunny-Hopping and Griefing: Is the Online Community Turning against Hillary?

So which is it? Did they run with their heads down or did they exit the plane normally? You’d think anyone would remember running with their head down to escape sniper fire. How could anyone “misspeak” about something that traumatic? It’s like saying:

“The huge t-rex picked me up with his mouth, and I was screaming my lungs out . . . oh sorry, I misspoke. It never happened.”

That doesn’t exactly make sense.

Sure it does. Memories are absolutely horrible at recording past events, and virtually everyone remembers things that never happened, particularly emotionally charged/traumatic ones. Most modern presidents and first ladies will have had enough “security experiences” that having them mix a little bit in the mind is to be expected. We place way, way too much stock in the accuracy of people’s memories. My guess is she honestly remembered the event, then was shown video or other footage demonstrating that her memory was wrong.

As I said, they exited the plane normally. They met people on the runway and there was no gunfire. I don’t want to give the appearance I’m saying Clinton was arguably right - what she said was wrong.

But it wasn’t some “I got attacked by a dinosaur” fantasy. She was in a country at war and people were being killed by snipers in the area. So she was in a place where being shot was a realistic possibility.

There were details of an extremely steep approach as well. I disagree with your guess.

*On Feb 29 she stated that the greeting ceremony “had to be moved inside because of sniper fire” while on Dec 29 she said that she had “landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire”.

“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.”

“There was no greeting ceremony and we were basically told to run to our cars. Now that is what happened.”*

She wrote about the event (accurately) in her book Living History, published well before her embellished recollections.

Memory is a tricky thing. I, needless to say, have no false memories, but everyone else does. Reagan got a pass when he “remembered” being in WW II. Why is it that only Dems get roasted for false memories?

This article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory_syndrome is mostly about therapist-induced false memories, but Elizabeth Loftus has carried out experiments in which she created false memories in ordinary people with amazing ease.