Home News Did Hillary Clinton really try to join the Marines back in ’75?

Did Hillary Clinton really try to join the Marines back in ’75?

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Hillary Clinton AP
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The fact checkers at the Washington Post are working hard to dissect the latest story from candidate Hillary Clinton.

Many have been skeptical about Hillary Clinton’s claim that she tried to join the Marine Corps in 1975. She first told the story in 1994, while addressing a lunch on Capitol Hill honoring military women.

She brought it up again this week on the campaign trail while speaking at a breakfast in Manchester, N.H.

“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. “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.”

Clinton stated: “It was not a very encouraging conversation… I decided maybe I’ll look for another way to serve my country.”

A former Clinton spokesman speculated that perhaps the law school graduate was thinking of joining the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Maureen Dowd noted in a 1994 NYT article about Clinton: “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.”

Clinton’s college friends reportedly confirmed her story, though they were fuzzy on the details. Ann Henry said that she still recalls the discussion about “testing the limits.” She added: “there were Marine recruiting offices on campus, and so Clinton could have easily stopped by one to conduct such a test.”

But why would Clinton need to “test” the Marines for accepting women?

According to the Women Marines Assoc., “By 1975, the Corps approved the assignment of women to all occupational fields except infantry, artillery, armor and pilot/air crew.”

A Marine spokesman issued a statement back in ’94 in response to her story saying, “We won’t attempt to dispute the first lady’s recollection, but if she was ill-treated by a Marine recruiter in 1975, it certainly is unfortunate, unprofessional and a mistake we regret.”

According to the Post, Clinton suggests she simply decided to join the Marines, as part of way to serve her country. But it makes more sense that she made contact with the Marines as part of a “deliberate effort” to test the boundaries available to women — as some of her friends suggested.

Under their fact-checking scale, the Post gave Clinton’s story ‘Two Pinocchios’- meaning there are “significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily… or, similar to “half-true.”

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