At a political breakfast event in New Hampshire this week, Hillary Clinton enthralled the guests at her table with a story about the time she tried to join the Marine Corps.

Glenn Kessler reports at the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton’s claim that she tried to join the Marines

“He looks at me and goes, ‘Um, how old are you. And I said, ‘Well I am 26, I will be 27.’ And he goes, ‘Well, that is kind of old for us.’ And then he says to me, and this is what gets me, ‘Maybe the dogs will take you,’ meaning the Army.”

One Clinton story that has often been greeted with skepticism is her claim, first made in 1994, that she once tried to join the Marines in 1975. On the campaign trail, she brought up the story again.

Can this story be confirmed?

The Facts

Clinton first told this story while addressing a lunch on Capitol Hill honoring military women, about 17 months after becoming first lady:

“You’re too old, you can’t see and you’re a woman,” Mrs. Clinton said she was told. “Maybe the dogs would take you,” she recalled the recruiter saying. (Actually the military slang is “dogfaces.”)

“It was not a very encouraging conversation,” she said. “I decided maybe I’ll look for another way to serve my country.”

It’s fair to say The New York Times account, written by then-reporter Maureen Dowd, was highly skeptical. Dowd noted:

  • “At the time, Hillary Rodham was an up-and-coming legal star involved with an up-and-coming political star.”
  • “She had made a celebrated appearance in Life magazine as an anti-establishment commencement speaker at Wellesley College, where, as president of the student government, she had organized teach-ins on her opposition to the Vietnam War.”
  • “She was a Yale law school graduate who had worked on the anti-war Presidential campaigns of Eugene J. McCarthy and George McGovern.”
  • “Mrs. Clinton told friends that she had moved to Arkansas for only one reason: to be with Bill Clinton.”
  • The Clintons married on Oct. 11, 1975, in Fayetteville.

Dowd asked: “So, if she was talking to a Marine recruiter in 1975 before the marriage, was she briefly considering joining the few, the proud and the brave of the corps as an alternative to life with Mr. Clinton, who was already being widely touted as a sure thing for Arkansas Attorney General?”

Chris Cillizza, also of the Washington Post, asks an excellent question:

Why aren’t Hillary Clinton’s exaggerations of her life story bigger news?

Hillary Clinton tells a story of how she tried to join the Marines in 1975 but was rejected because she was too old. The problem? The story may not be totally true.

As The Post’s Fact Checker illustrates in a column dedicated to Clinton’s Marine claim Thursday, there’s little reason to believe that she — already a very prominent person — would suddenly attempt to join the military.

Does everyone remember how much time the media recently spent fact checking Dr. Ben Carson’s claim about being offered a scholarship to West Point?

Here’s a video of Hillary telling her story:

Featured image via YouTube.


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