(Clinton argued) she risked her life on White House missions in the 1990s, including a hair-raising flight into Bosnia that ended in a "corkscrew" landing and a sprint off the tarmac to dodge snipers.
"I don't remember anyone offering me tea," she quipped. (Aaah, the gallows humor of the remarkably brave!)
The dictum around the Oval Office in the '90s, she added, was: "If a place was too dangerous, too poor or too small, send the first lady."
It turns out that Clinton wasn't quite flying solo into harm's way that day.
She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, then 15, according to an account of the March 1995 trip in her autobiography "Living History."
Dean asks the tough questions:
What does it say about Hillary that, by her own (admittedly fanciful) telling, she knowingly put her daughter in harm's way, taking a special Mom-and-daughter (and Sinbad) trip to a place that was “too dangerous?”
Captain Ed digs up some NY Times coverage that somehow overlooked the various dangers to which Ms. Clinton exposed herself and Chelsea. To that let me add this Reuters account (found in a Free Republic post speculating about then-Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown's possible assassination in April 1996) as well as some on-the-spot photos from a soldier who was there.
My guess - if Bill was willing to whack Ron Brown in Bosnia just a few weeks later, Hillary had to be feeling vulnerable; Chelsea and Sheryl Crow were there as protection.
Somewhat more seriously, there is this from Reuters:
Mrs. Clinton flew to Bosnia from Germany with the two entertainers on a huge C-17 Air Force cargo jet, becoming the first U.S. first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to visit an area of conflict independently of her commander-in-chief husband. Her visit was much more extensive than the one President Clinton made in January. Because of poor weather and security concerns he never got any further than 500 yards from the Tuzla airstrip.
So Bill Clinton flew in two months earlier and security was poor; Ms. Clinton may well have been briefed that this was a hazardous trip. So why take Chelsea? I am out of answers.
From the Times coverage it appears that her greatest threat was from disgruntled American soldiers.
MORE: Sweetness and Light provides Hillary's account from her book, "Living
Clown Show History".
Also, the Times covered President Clinton's visit to Tuzla on Jan 14, 1996:
It took Mr. Clinton two tries today to make it into Tuzla, the headquarters of the American forces, who will eventually number 20,000 of the 60,000 NATO peacekeepers.
Early this morning, the C-17 military transport plane carrying Mr. Clinton, his aides and a bipartisan Congressional delegation was diverted because of fog to the next stop on his itinerary -- an American staging base in Taszar, Hungary. Despite this delay of several hours, the President's entourage was upbeat.
Mr. Clinton's trip was marked by heavy security. His precise itinerary was closely held, and Secret Service sharpshooters followed him in Tuzla, where he stayed inside the grounds of the airfield, seeing nothing of the war's effects on the town. A senior official in his entourage said the President's visit had "more logistical, security and weather variables" than he had ever encountered before.
Mr. Clinton took off from Tuzla about two and a half hours after his arrival as fog rolled in, advised by the Secret Service to leave before dark.
The Times also covered the situation as experienced by the troops:
Encircled By Peril, G.I.'s Stay Nonchalant
...To tell you the truth, I feel pretty safe right here," he said, his head poking from the turret of the Bradley fighting vehicle he commands. "As long as there is this much ammo all around me, I don't think they'd be dropping too many mortar rounds," he said, sounding certain that the Serbs would not risk destroying their ammunition to fire at the 22 American soldiers on this lookout point [which was south of Tuzla].
Capt. Hugo Jackson, the commander of Charlie Company, is waiting in quiet fury for the delivery of 400 rolls of concertina wire. Now, empty fence posts ring the camp, a breach in security he hopes the Serbs do not wish to take advantage of.
Near dusk on Thursday, a shot rang out from over a hill, and the soldiers fixing a generator looked up but did not duck: They assumed it was simply another shot fired in the air, as common here as men strolling the streets with loaded AK-47's.
"Don't worry, I caught it!" yelled Sgt. Robert Chandler, the First Sergeant.
Sergeant Chandler, at 37 what the military calls an "old soldier," worries the men have adjusted perhaps too well, given the visible dangers all around. Many soldiers in this rural pocket of grazing sheep and crowing roosters, which was spared the ravages of war, find it difficult to imagine any threat to their lives.
"I'm trying to get them scareder," Sergeant Chandler said.
He succeeded with Hillary.