From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
TERRE HAUTE, IN -- As metaphors go, it's a pretty strong one.
Before his first campaign event in nearby Clinton, Bill Clinton visited the charred remains of his wife's local campaign headquarters. There, he addressed his remarks at two stops yesterday, where he once again raised the controversy over his wife's statements about her trip to Bosnia.
The former president said that his wife called him last night to ask him to let the issue lie. "Hillary called me and said 'You don't remember this. You weren't there, let me handle it.' I said, 'Yes ma'am," Clinton said.
He did, however, say that it was a fact that his wife flew into an area with "some risk," and that others have written accounts acknowledging that which have not been disputed. "I'll let people who actually were there and knew what happened to talk about it," he said. "But I think the fact that Hillary made a factual error in her account and acknowledged it shouldn't obscure the fact that she did go into an area not free of danger and was there advocating for the troops."
When asked if he regretted the fact that his statements distracted from his wife's message, Clinton turned the matter back. "I regret that people like you care more about that than whether she served the troops, and whether she'll put people back to work and whether she'll do the best job of getting people out of Iraq," he said. "And I also regret that there appears to be a double standard about misstatements... Let's don't make one more mountain out of a molehill when the facts are pretty clear."
Clinton, joined by Ohio congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, talked to local fire officials about the incident last night, and also met with the two staffers who were in the office at the time of the fire. He said he had just arrived in Terre Haute last night when the fire occurred, and was pleased that the campaign workers were safe. He also tried to spin the disaster as a positive.
"I think it might be a good omen, you know?" he said. "We're rising from the ashes, like the phoenix"