CNN’s Dan Lothian, during a report on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room," downplayed Hillary Clinton’s "sniper fire" statement on her trip to Tuzla, Bosnia during her time as First Lady, referring to it as a "misstep." Lothian, in his introduction to the report, referenced the "dangerous 1996 visit to Bosnia" and played Clinton’s now-famous false account of her arrival in the war-torn country. As file footage of Clinton’s arrival played, Lothian pointed out how the "video shot that day seemingly contradicts her version of events. No one seems to be running or ducking, and there does appear to be a ceremony." The video, which was first pointed out on NewsBusters by Rich Noyes, flatly proves Clinton’s statement to be false, not just "seemingly contradict" it.
After playing two more clips of Clinton, in which she admitted her "mistake" and how she "misspoke," Lothian rightly pointed out that this admission "is raising more questions, because she told the same story, not just last week, but in February and last December in Iowa. The question now -- will this hurt Clinton's credibility?"
Lothian then detailed how Barack Obama also "misspoke" at one point in the campaign. "Senator Barack Obama has had problems with history, too. Last year in Alabama, he talked about how his parents got together during the Selma voting rights march.... The problem is Obama was born in 1961. The march happened four years later."
At this conclusion of his report, Lothian twice used the term "misstep" in reference to these false statements by the Democratic candidates. "But how can these highly-vetted, heavily-advised campaigns make these missteps?... And political analysts say that every moment the candidates spend on these missteps, it takes them off message."
The report, which began about five minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room," also featured two sound bites -- one from Democratic strategist Jenny Backus, and the other from Charles Mathesian of Politico.com -- which tried to downplay the significance of these "missteps."
The full transcript of Dan Lothian’s report from Tuesday’s "The Situation Room:"
WOLF BLITZER: Senator Clinton also told reporters just a short while ago that she's human and makes mistakes. Clinton now acknowledging she misspoke about the danger she faced during that 1996 trip to Bosnia. The Obama camp has suggested Clinton was intentionally exaggerating. Let's go to CNN's Dan Lothian. He's covering this part of the story for us in Pennsylvania. He's with the CNN 'Election Express.' Dan, the flap is going to the heart of Clinton's claims about her global national security experience. What's the latest today?
DAN LOTHIAN: That's right, Wolf, and that's why all day she's been saying that she really made a mistake. And at one point, when reporters kept questioning her about this issue, she told them, listen, get over it. But at least of now, this story isn't going anywhere.
LOTHIAN (voice-over): Senator Hillary Clinton is running on her resume, touting foreign policy experience and talking about trips taken abroad as First Lady, like she did last week about a dangerous 1996 visit to Bosnia.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON, NEW YORK: I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport. But instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.
LOTHIAN: But video shot that day seemingly contradicts her version of events. No one seems to be running or ducking, and there does appear to be a ceremony.
CLINTON: I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human which, you know, for some people is a revelation.
LOTHIAN: And this on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh.
CLINTON: Last week, you know, for the first time in 12 or so years, I mis-spoke.
LOTHIAN: But even that admission is raising more questions, because she told the same story, not just last week, but in February and last December in Iowa. The question now -- will this hurt Clinton's credibility?
JENNY BACKUS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it could hurt her credibility. But what, I think, hurts most is her claim that she is the candidate of more experience and that she's got more foreign policy experience and Commander-in-Chief experience than Barack Obama.
LOTHIAN: Senator Barack Obama has had problems with history, too. Last year in Alabama, he talked about how his parents got together during the Selma voting rights march.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, ILLINOIS: And so they got together. Barack Obama Jr. Was born.
LOTHIAN: The problem is Obama was born in 1961. The march happened four years later. His campaign clarified, said he was referring to the civil rights movement, not one event. But how can these highly-vetted, heavily-advised campaigns make these missteps?
CHARLES MATHESIAN, POLITICO.COM: Candidates are human, just like the rest of us. You know, their recollection, sometimes, can be spotty. They might not remember things. Maybe they remember things the way they prefer to. And sometimes it's just an outright exaggeration and they don't expect to get caught.
LOTHIAN (on-camera): And political analysts say that every moment the candidates spend on these missteps, it takes them off message. Wolf?
BLITZER: Dan Lothian, thank you.