Hillary Clinton, touting her experience over Barack Obama, has been saying that President Clinton would send her overseas to places that were “too dangerous” for him to go to. Mrs. Clinton specifically has been telling about how she landed in the Balkans under sniper fire:
“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.”
–Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.
Since then, the comedian Sinbad, who was on that trip along with singer Sheryl Crowe, has disputed the story, saying that that they were never shot at and that the trip was pretty uneventful. So fact checkers from the Washington Post investigated.
Not only did none of the people on that trip report getting shot at, CBS had footage of the landing! Mrs. Clinton was greeting by dignitaries and a little girl read her a poem. (The article links to the footage so you can see for yourself.) No snipers were in attendance.
But this is what gets me:
According to Sinbad, who provided entertainment on the trip along with the singer Sheryl Crow, the “scariest” part was deciding where to eat. As he told Mary Ann Akers of The Post, “I think the only ‘red-phone’ moment was: ‘Do we eat here or at the next place.'” Sinbad questioned the premise behind the Clinton version of events. “What kind of president would say ‘Hey man, I can’t go ’cause I might get shot so I’m going to send my wife. Oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.”
Replying to Sinbad earlier this week, Clinton dismissed him as “a comedian.” Her campaign referred me to Togo West, who was also on the trip and is a staunch Hillary supporter. West could not remember “sniper fire” himself, but said there was no reason to doubt the First Lady’s version of events. “Everybody’s perceptions are different,” he told me.
Mr. West was on the trip and didn’t remember getting shot at, something that MIGHT stick in one’s memory, but THERE WAS NO REASON TO DOUBT THE FIRST LADY? “EVERYBODY’S PERCEPTIONS ARE DIFFERENT”? That’s pure postmodernist dogmatism at its most idiotic. Either she was shot at or she was not. This is a question of fact, not “perception.” And everybody’s perceptions were not different, since no one else–including the person who said this–perceived bullets flying and having to run for cover.
What is the best–or only–construction that we could put on Mrs. Clinton’s speech? Help me out, tODD.