Flashback: Hillary's Daring Bosnia Mission w/ Sinbad Amuses Beckel

[This was first posted on January 1, 2008] On the Tuesday, January 1 Fox and Friends, Democratic strategist and FNC contributor Bob Beckel found amusing Hillary Clinton's contention that her trip to Bosnia in 1996, which Clinton has been accused of exaggerating as a dangerous mission despite the presence of daughter Chelsea and comedian Sinbad on the plane as she mentioned the need for a "corkscrew" landing and running on the tarmac in case of sniper attack, was evidence of her foreign policy experience. Clinton's comments, which were a response to Barack Obama's charges that her foreign policy experience consisted only of talking and "having tea" with foreign dignitaries, evoked an amused and cynical reaction from the liberal Beckel: "It's almost too hard to say this straight. I mean, I've had a few corkscrew landings myself, but I was not, well, it had been a long night before I did it. I mean, I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be." (Transcript follows)

As recounted by the Wall Street Journal online, the latest round of sparring between Clinton and Obama began on Friday when Obama promoted his own claim on foreign policy experience while dismissing Clinton's credentials: "My experience is grounded in understanding how the world sees America, from living overseas and traveling overseas, and having family beyond our shores. It's that experience, that understanding, and not just of what world leader I went and talked to in the ambassador's house who I had tea with."

Clinton reacted in a speech on Saturday, as the former First Lady spoke of being "honored to travel around the world representing our country," and brought up a 1996 trip to Bosnia, which, according to Newsday online, she described as "too dangerous" for the President to visit. Referring to Clinton's speech, Glenn Thrush of Newsday wrote: "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.'"

As FNC's Brian Kilmeade brought up the subject during a discussion with Beckel and conservative talk radio host Pat Campbell, he played a soundbite of Clinton talking about making a "corkscrew landing" and running in case there was "sniper fire." Clinton: "You know, we landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don't remember anybody offering me tea on the tarmac when that was happening."

Then, probably quoting the aforementioned Newsday article, the FNC host brought up Clinton's autobiography Living History, which reported that Clinton's daughter Chelsea, comedian Sinbad, and singer Sheryl Crowe were also aboard the plane, which has prompted accusations that Clinton may have exaggerated how dangerous her life as First Lady really was.

Kilmeade: "But now we find out, according to her own biography, that that plane they had the corkscrew landing in to avoid terrorist fire, also included Chelsea Clinton on that plane, Sinbad the comedian, and Sheryl Crowe the singer. So could this actually have been an international mission of peace, Bob Beckel? Is this going to help Hillary Clinton?"

Beckel responded: "It's almost too hard to say this straight. I mean, I've had a few corkscrew landings myself, but I was not, well, it had been a long night before I did it. I mean, I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday January 1 Fox and Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE: Guys, I want to bring you to a soundbite that I know you'll revel in. It was Hillary Clinton answering back Barack Obama, saying that essentially, and I paraphrase, that she spent her years in the White House having tea with different world leaders and different ambassadors, that does not add up to international experience. And then she said this about what she actually did during those years. Let's listen.

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, we landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don't remember anybody offering me tea on the tarmac when that was happening.

KILMEADE: She's talking about a corkscrew landing.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Into Bosnia.

KILMEADE: Into Bosnia. But now we find out, according to her own biography, that that plane they had the corkscrew landing in to avoid terrorist fire, also included Chelsea Clinton on that plane, Sinbad the comedian, and Sheryl Crowe the singer. So could this actually have been an international mission of peace, Bob Beckel? Is this going to help Hillary Clinton?

BOB BECKEL: It's almost too hard to say this straight. I mean, I've had a few corkscrew landings myself, but I was not, well, it had been a long night before I did it.

KILMEADE: I get it. I'm with you.

BECKEL: I mean, I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be.

CAMEROTA: No, because she had to, she said she had to run up into the armored part of the plane. The point is-

KILMEADE: Leaving Sinbad unprotected.

BECKEL: Run up to the armored part of the plane?

CAMEROTA: Yes, she was taken up to the, they said that she was taken up to the front of the plane -- am I right, Brian?

KILMEADE: Yeah, Pat's got to say something besides laugh. Pat, are you going to contribute or just giggle?

BECKEL: When that happens, what you do is you put your head between your legs and kiss your, goodbye, I mean-

CAMEROTA: We've heard that.

KILMEADE: Yeah. I don't have that type of flexibility.

CAMEROTA: All right, but Pat, the point is, is that she's saying that she visited 79 countries while she was First Lady and that gives her more foreign experience, foreign country experience, I guess, not foreign policy experience, than many of the other candidates. Do you buy it?

PAT CAMPBELL, Conservative radio host: Having frequent flier miles traveling to different places, does not give one experience in foreign policy. I mean, the fact that she had Sinbad on that plane just says it all. I mean, come on.

KILMEADE: The guy only wears pajama pants.