Sunday :: Mar 23, 2008

Clinton and Bosnia

by eriposte

I see Sen. Clinton's recollection of her Bosnia trip has been challenged and she is now being painted as a liar on this. I've seen this kind of story before run against Democrats in past elections. Let me just say that it is entirely possible that Clinton mis-remembered an incident that happened such a long time ago. I am giving her as much benefit of the doubt as I give to Sen. Obama for the various claims in his own book, about his past, that have been challenged.

For example, see Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker (Chicago Tribune) - emphasis is mine:

At the same time, several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them. Some seem to make Obama look better in the retelling, others appear to exaggerate his outward struggles over issues of race, or simply skim over some of the most painful, private moments of his life.


In his best-selling autobiography, "Dreams from My Father," Obama describes having heated conversations about racism with another black student, "Ray." The real Ray, Keith Kakugawa, is half black and half Japanese. In an interview with the Tribune on Saturday, Kakugawa said he always considered himself mixed race, like so many of his friends in Hawaii, and was not an angry young black man.

He said he does recall long, soulful talks with the young Obama and that his friend confided his longing and loneliness. But those talks, Kakugawa said, were not about race. "Not even close," he said, adding that Obama was dealing with "some inner turmoil" in those days.

"But it wasn't a race thing," he said. "Barry's biggest struggles then were missing his parents. His biggest struggles were his feelings of abandonment. The idea that his biggest struggle was race is [bull]."

Then there's the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don't exist, say the magazine's own historians.


Yet even Obama has acknowledged the limits of memoir. In a new introduction to the reissued edition of "Dreams," he noted that the dangers of writing an autobiography included "the temptation to color events in ways favorable to the writer ... [and] selective lapses of memory."

He added: "I can't say that I've avoided all, or any, of these hazards successfully."

Also see Kevin Drum and Larry Johnson (the latter post is more related to the Bosnia topic).

eriposte :: 10:31 AM :: Comments (39) :: Digg It!