By Nancy K. Matthis | Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 at 6:48 pm
Bill and Hillary Clinton create their own version of reality with the ease of accomplished storytellers.
In 1995, Hillary Clinton was touring Asia as first lady. She ran into Sir Edmund Hillary quite by chance at the Katmandu Airport. Sensing a photo op, she shook his hand and told him that her mother said she was named after him, adding:
“So when I was born, she called me Hillary and she always told me, ‘It’s because of Sir Edmund Hillary. It had two l’s, which is how she thought she was supposed to spell Hillary.’”
Bill Clinton repeated the story in his 2004 autobiography.
The problem: Hillary Clinton was born in 1947 and Sir Edmund Hillary gained fame for climbing Mount Everest in 1953.
Snopes generously forgives:
“….this story was likely a little white lie concocted for a special occasion back in 1995….”
The New York Times kindly explains:
For more than a decade, one piece of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s informal biography has been that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest….
But yesterday, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said she was not named for Sir Edmund after all.
“It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add,” said Jennifer Hanley, a spokeswoman for the campaign.
And that, dear readers, is how the media transformed a bald-faced lie into a sweet family story.
Then there is the World Trade Center story:
After 9-11, Hillary had a problem. New Yorkers were desperately focused on their own needs for protection and they were saddled with a Senator who was not one of them — an Arkansan or was it a Chicagoan?
Interviewed on the Today Show one week after 9-11, she spun an elaborate yarn. The kindest thing we could say was that it was a fantasy. Or a fabrication.
She said that Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9-11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea’s life. But Chelsea told Talk Magazine that she was in a friend’s apartment four miles from ground zero when the first plane hit. Her friend called her, waking her up, and told her to turn on the TV. On television, she saw the second plane hit, disproving Hillary’s claim that “she heard the plane hit. She heard it. She did.”
So why did Hillary make up the story about Chelsea? Most likely to was because her co-Senator (and implicit rival for the voter’s affection), a real New Yorker Chuck Schumer spoke of his daughter, who attended Stuyvesant High School (Dick’s alma mater) located next to the Trade Center, being at real risk on 9-11. Hillary needed to make herself part of the scene.
She invented the entire story on national television, the Today Show, and didn’t blink an eye.
There’s the story about her experience with prejudice:
Another story from the book [Living History by Hillary Clinton] talks about how Hillary is at a race-relations conference in Boston with some teenagers, and she claims that she was on the soccer team, and a player from the opposing team told her that she hated her kind, and Hillary said — “You don’t even know me,” to which the girl replied — “I don’t have to know you to know I hate you.” An attempt to try to make the kids believe she knew exactly where they were coming from, and from personal experience at that! Too bad this is almost surely a lie, since there were no girl’s soccer teams at her high school in the 1960′s when this supposed event took place.
And now there’s the current Bosnia flap:
Sniper Fire, and Holes In Clinton’s Recollection
Hillary Clinton has been regaling supporters on the campaign trail with hair-raising tales of a trip she made to Bosnia in March 1996. In her retelling, she was sent to places that her husband, President Bill Clinton, could not go because they were “too dangerous.” When her account was challenged by one of her traveling companions, the comedian Sinbad, she upped the ante and injected even more drama into the story. In a speech earlier this week, she talked about “landing under sniper fire” and running for safety with “our heads down.”
There are numerous problems with Clinton’s version of events….
Far from running to an airport building with their heads down, Clinton and her party were greeted on the tarmac by smiling U.S. and Bosnian officials. An 8-year-old Muslim girl, Emina Bicakcic, read a poem in English….
[Update 11:25PM. Writing on Anderson Cooper's 360o blog, Carl Bernstein writes:
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 ... Hillary Rodham Clinton has always had a difficult relationship with the truth…"
Bill Clinton, to the public, to the grand jury:
“I did not have sex with that woman…….Ms. Lewinsky.”
Nancy Matthis is the publisher and executive editor of the weblog format news magazine and multimedia outlet American Daughter Media Center.
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Tags: Bosnia, Clinton, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Katmandu, lies, Sir Edmund, soccer