Message to Bill Clinton: Zip it.
Well, that’s Hillary’s message to her husband, anyway; ours is more along the lines of, “Bill…what are you thinking?” The former president will just not keep his mouth shut. Which in itself wouldn’t be problematic—WJC is known, after all, for his smooth-talking, crowd-working abilities—except that, these days, the bulk of what he says seems, at best, politically facile…and, at worst, directly designed to sabotage his wife’s campaign. Take TuzlaGate, Hillary’s let’s-just-call-it-faulty memory of Bosnian sniper fire that began as Potential Campaign Downfall but, due to some swift damage control and a self-mocking appearance on Leno, has been downgraded to Mild Embarrassment. The HRC campaign strategy had been to explain the incident—Hillary was “fatigued” when she made her faux-reminiscence, and she “misspoke,” she said—laugh it off, and then ignore it. And the media, after their initial bout of amused disbelief at the utter egregiousness of Clinton’s claims, seemed similarly ready to move on from all the sniping.
Enter Bill. Yesterday, the former president resurrected TuzlaGate through a speech seemingly intended to defend his wife…but, alas, riddled with more holes than the Tuzla airport. ABC News’s Jake Tapper counts eight—eight—factual errors in Bill’s Tuzla treatment. (See Tapper’s factually-footnoted version of WJC’s speech here.)
Which—again—begs the question: “Bill…what are you thinking?” You know what they say about loose lips…Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.