Des Moines Register suggested Clinton stole Vilsack anecdote

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

In a July 11 article headlined "Hillary uses story Vilsack had told," The Des Moines Register reported that "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has borrowed an anecdote about the war in Iraq from former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Clinton told an audience of more than 300 people in Des Moines Tuesday [July 10] about Bruce Smith, the West Liberty man killed in Iraq in 2003 when his helicopter was shot down." The headline suggests that Clinton tried to pass off Vilsack's story as her own. Absent that suggestion, which is false, there is presumably no story. In the fifth paragraph, the Register reported that "Clinton said Vilsack had told her the story." However, the article did not make explicit that Clinton's acknowledgement of Vilsack as the source of the story actually came during her July 10 speech in Des Moines.

Indeed, Clinton prefaced the anecdote by saying, "My friend Tom Vilsack told me about Bruce Smith and his courageous wife, Oliva." From Clinton's speech:

I want to end by telling you about one of those service members -- a Chief Warrant Officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, named Bruce Smith, from West Liberty, Iowa. My friend Tom Vilsack told me about Bruce Smith and his courageous wife, Oliva. Bruce was deployed to Iraq, in November 2003 the Chinook helicopter he was piloting was shot down near Fallujah. Bruce had to make a split-second decision about how to maneuver the helicopter. One choice would possibly save his life. The other would possibly save his crewmates. Bruce chose to save his crew. And while he and his co-pilot were killed, 17 members of his crew survived. His wife, Oliva, has said that in those few seconds, those 17 men needed Bruce more than she and her children would need him for the rest of their lives.

From the July 11 edition of The Des Moines Register:

Hillary uses story Vilsack had told

The former governor's account tells of the loss of an Iowan in combat.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has borrowed an anecdote about the war in Iraq from former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

Clinton told an audience of more than 300 people in Des Moines Tuesday about Bruce Smith, the West Liberty man killed in Iraq in 2003 when his helicopter was shot down.

Smith and his widow, Oliva Smith, were fixtures in Vilsack's standard speech during his brief campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination this year.

"Bruce chose to save his crew. And while Bruce and his co-pilot were killed, 17 of his crew members survived," Clinton said, even borrowing Vilsack's phrasing, during her speech in Des Moines about ending the war. "His wife, Oliva, has said, in those few seconds those 17 men needed Bruce more than she and her children would need him for the rest of their lives."

Clinton said Vilsack had told her the story, one he often used to end his remarks. Vilsack, as governor, called to convey condolences to Oliva Smith, who told him witnesses said her husband maneuvered the helicopter to protect the passengers after it had been hit. Smith and his co-pilot were among 15 aboard who died in the crash.

Vilsack endorsed Clinton in late March, a month after abandoning his own campaign.

The weblog JustHillary.com linked to The Des Moines Register story, tagging it "HILLARY BORROWS A WAR STORY."

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Des Moines Register
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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