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Hillary Exposed By: Rich Lowry
New York Post | Monday, March 31, 2008


Hillary Clinton has a solution to her Tuzla problem - let's talk about Rev. Jeremiah Wright some more.

On the day after the CBS News aired video making a hash of Sen. Clinton's claim to have landed "under sniper fire" in Tuzla, Bosnia in 1996, she raised for the first time the issue of Barack Obama's relationship to Rev. Wright.

In this, she followed a Clinton family pattern so well-established it's almost boring: Misrepresent the truth as convenient - then, when caught, go on the offensive.

This method served the Clintons well during eight years in the White House, when Democrats exalted them for winning by any means fair or foul. But now that the Clintons' dark arts of spin and remorseless ambition are being turned on their fellow partisans, Democrats seem stunned - like the tiger handler who can't believe his big cat turned on him.

Dante couldn't have devised a more appropriate ring of hell as punishment for the party than spending a few more months with the Clintons in a dispiriting slog of a nomination battle.

Even though Tuzla has been plastered on TV news the last few days, it's unclear how much the fracas will damage Hillary. Those voters who don't already think she's untrustworthy are either blinkered partisans or haven't been paying attention (since roughly 1992). In a Gallup poll this month, 53 percent thought Hillary wasn't honest and trustworthy, while Obama and John McCain were rated trustworthy by more than 2-1 margins.

Since Hillary isn't running a character campaign, yet another nick on her credibility isn't very telling.

But Tuzla does hurt - by exposing her Walter Mitty life as a first lady who, in largely ceremonial trips abroad, apparently imagined herself engaged in high-stakes diplomacy.

On her trips, everyone else saw a feminist icon and international celebrity cheering the troops, greeting children, and meeting with local women - while she thought she was the Clinton administration's secret Kissinger.

Or that's how she's portrays herself now - out of sheer necessity: Clinton needs something to back up her famous "3 a.m." ad hitting Obama for his lack of national security credentials.

What she could legitimately argue is that she was at the center of power for two terms and knows what the pressure is like in a way Obama can't. Anyone reading between the lines would know her proverbial 3 a.m. calls had to do with the fallout from her husband's perjurous denials of his dalliance with a White House intern.

She needed something more - hence her laughable exaggerations about helping bring peace to North Ireland, negotiating a way way out of Kosovo for refugees and running under sniper fire in Tuzla.

Those claims could all be rebutted in print, and had been. But it took video of her - with no helmet or flak jacket - smiling and greeting a 8-year-old girl on the tarmac to destroy her story in an instant.

The CBS footage is the blue dress of the Hillary campaign, the lock-down evidence that can't be spun away.

Hillary's camp claims she misspoke. This abuses the term. Misspeaking is mixing something up - not manufacturing a new memory.

Of course, memory plays tricks on everyone. (Not for nothing do the Russians say, "No one lies like an eyewitness.") But being anywhere near hostile fire as a civilian is a terrifying (and sometimes perversely exhilarating) experience that gets etched into memory. There's no forgetting it or making it up.

Oh, well. Hillary marches on, pivoting to hit at Barack Obama's pastor. Is anyone who isn't a Democrat the least bit surprised?



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