Looks like Hillary’s foreign policy credentials are based on one speech she made in 1995

We’re entering into dangerous territory with one of our presidential candidates. And I don’t mean dangerous in the sense Hillary claims – that she “risked her life” during multiple secret agent missions while she was juggling planning the White House Christmas party and solving world peace (if she’d only been First Lady during the Cold War think of the billions we could have saved by her single-handedly bringing down the Soviet Union). We’re entering the “just because she says it doesn’t make it true” territory. It’s a category we traditionally reserve for George Bush and Republicans.

As we are all very well aware, Hillary Clinton is touting her foreign policy credentials. When asked to name them, she provides some examples:

You know, I was involved for 15 years in, you know, foreign policy and security policy. You know, I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland. I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo. I’ve been standing up against, you know, the Chinese government over women’s rights and standing up for human rights in many different places. I’ve served on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Noticeably, no mention of her votes on Iraq and Iran. But, let’s look at what she said. Let’s see if it’s true.

NORTHERN IRELAND
On Northern Ireland, via Ben Smith, Clinton’s claim is harshly disabused and called “silly” by the Nobel laureate who actually brought peace to Northern Ireland:

Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a “wee bit silly” for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.

“I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around,” he said. Her recent statements about being deeply involved were merely “the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets” during elections. “She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player.”

Cross Northern Ireland off.

KOSOVO
On Kosovo, CNN actually fact-checked:

In May of 1999, she was in Macedonia visiting refugee camps near the Kosovo border and meeting with Macedonia’s president and prime minister.

Sources with knowledge of her visit say she discussed the refugees’ plight with those leaders. It’s not clear how much she helped since CNN reported at the time that Macedonia reopened its border to Kosovar refugees before Clinton’s visit.

More on her dare-devil mission to Kosovo:

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.”

It turns out that Clinton wasn’t quite flying solo into harm’s way that day.

She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, then 15.

So, if a place was “too dangerous,” Hillary took her 15 year old kid, Sinbad and Sheryl Crow with? Oops. Cross that one off, too.

So, based on the examples Clinton provided, it looks like her foreign policy experience actually is based on one speech she made in 1995. How ironic.

I don’t mean to belittle Hillary here, but she has developed a recent history of inflating her resume in a way that will lead to some pretty laughable and damaging GOP ads come the fall general election. It’s “Al Gore created the Internet” all over again. That was never what Gore actually claimed, but the right wing pushed it so hard that the media adopted it. Hillary does have some strong experience. But, most Americans aren’t going to believe that the First Lady, when not reading to children, was actually knee-capping terrorists a la Jack Bauer.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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