Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton created quite a stir recently when her campaign ran television advertisements suggesting that she, and not rival Barack Obama, was uniquely qualified to answer the White House's phone at 3:00 a.m., presumably in response to some emerging crisis. To reinforce her assertion that it should be she the one to take that 3 a.m. phone call, Clinton has repeatedly recalled a harrowing trip to Bosnia during her tenure as First Lady. Clinton apparently embellished the tale of the trip with "memories" of landing and making a mad dash under sniper fire from the airplane to awaiting ground transportation.
At a press conference in Pennsylvania today, Clinton said that she "misspoke" about her supposedly daring and potentially life-threatening Bosnia trip. CNN reported today that she said, "I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement." That sounds to me like a rather glib dismissal of statements that she wanted us all to take very seriously only a few weeks ago. CNN also reported that Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said that Clinton's remarks were part of "a growing list of instances in which Sen. Clinton has exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policymaking."
So, let's assume for a moment that a year from now the White House phone does ring at 3 a.m. to inform the president that a crisis of grave importance is unfolding. Since telephones are two-way devices, it is not only important what information the president hears during that phone call, but it might be even more important what the president says to the person on the other end. Would a President Clinton wake up a few hours later to discover that she "misspoke" to that person on the other end?