Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What's the Difference Between "Misspoke" and "Lie"?

Hillary Rodham Clinton has, at the very least, embellished her experiences in visiting Bosnia as First Lady in 1996. The Democratic presidential hopeful refers to her false statements about arriving in Bosnia "under sniper fire" as that she "misspoke" or it was a "minor blip" (Sanner, 3/25/08).

Former Army Secretary Togo West, who accompanied the First Lady on her trip, asserts that he doesn't find it unusual that someone could get the details of such a visit confused after twelve years (Sanner, 3/25/08). I don't know about you, but the details of whether or not myself, my daughter, and accompanying party were under sniper fire or not are not mere "details." Something like that would stand out in my mind.

We aren't talking here about whether Senator Clinton was greeted with a bouquet of flowers, whether the carpet she walked on was red or blue, or even if children were there to greet her. Those are mundane details. Being shot at is definitely not a mundane detail.

Senator Clinton explains this "minor blip" as just confusion among the million or so words she speaks each day. If one accepts this explanation, then the logic would follow that there may be other things the candidate says each day that are inaccurate. Hmmm...

To determine whether this "minor blip" was accidental or an outright lie, one would have to consider the rationale for this imagined happening. Did it present the candidate in a better light? Did saying such a thing imply she has more experience in foreign lands than her opponent? I think the answers to these questions answers the question about whether Senator Clinton simply had a slip of the tongue or told an outright untruth. Source: Sanner, A. (2008, March 25). Clinton 'misspoke' on sniper fire story. AP. (WWW document). Retrieved from: http://news.aol.com/elections/story/_a/clinton-misspoke-on-sniper-fire-story/20080324223409990001

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