Bill Clinton's perks outstrip Carter and Bush

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The Independent US

Just as the controversy over Hillary Clinton's claim about "landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia had died down, her husband Bill Clinton has stirred it up again.

Mr Clinton's unwelcome remarks have drawn attention back to the damage he has inflicted on his wife's candidacy, throughout the campaign. He himself is under renewed scrutiny amid revelations that despite a vast private income of more than $109m (£53m) , he has cost the US taxpayer almost as much to support as the two other living ex-presidents together.

But by wading into the "sniper" controversy again Mr Clinton threatens to revive the issue just before the crucial primary in Pennsylvania in 10 days. He was making campaign stops in the Indiana towns of Jasper and Boonville.

Mr Clinton said the news media treated Mrs Clinton "like she'd robbed a bank". His wife was tired, he said, when she made the remarks which have so damaged her campaign.

Yesterday, the cable news television networks ran stories focusing on the Clintons and their reputation for playing fast and loose with facts when it suits them.

"There was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated – and immediately apologised for it– what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995 [ sic]. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up."

Two weeks ago, Mrs Clinton conceded that she "misspoke" and "made a mistake" when she talked up the dangers she faced during a 1996 landing at Tuzla military airport, during a goodwill mission as first lady. But video footage showing a peaceful arrival ceremony undermined her campaign by reminding voters about other times when she has been less than candid.

Since Mr Clinton left the White House, his retirement package to the end of this year will cost $8m, compared to $5.5m for George Bush Snr and $4m for Jimmy Carter's over the same period.

Mr Clinton has obtained more of every perk available to former presidents. These include his pension, his staff's salaries, $3.2m in office rent and a $420,000 phone bill.

The amount he was paid is greater than the totals for those for Mr Bush Snr, Mr Carter and the late former presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan combined, an analysis by Politico shows.