Hillary's Experience with Bad Men: Is the Joke on Bill?

Hillary Clinton has a laugh at a town hall meeting in Davenport, Iowa. (Photo courtesy ABCNews.com)
Hillary Clinton has a laugh at a town hall meeting in Davenport, Iowa. (Photo courtesy ABCNews.com)

by Kate Snow, ABC News

Hillary Clinton says she was trying to be funny. Or maybe she really was thinking about evil men, like Osama bin Laden.

It all started with a question at Sunday's town hall meeting at a fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

A man in the crowd asked about Clinton's experience in dealing with "bad places" in the world like Iran and North Korea. He called the leaders of those countries "evil, greedy, rotten, power-hungry leaders" who usually happen to be men.

Since the man didn't have a microphone and it was difficult to hear in the packed hall, Clinton repeated his question on her mike.

"Question was: What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?" Clinton said.

And then she paused, seemingly for comedic effect. The crowd howled with laughter.

At a press conference later, Clinton was asked what or who she was thinking about during that pregnant pause.

"I repeated the question because the gentleman as you might recall, listed quite a number of the worst actors in our world today, including Osama bin Laden, and I was thinking to myself, 'Well, I think I could do a pretty good job. After all, we still haven't caught OBL, have we? And, isn't it about time we get serious about that?' "

A few minutes later she offered an alternative explanation.

With mock frustration, she said to the assembled national press corps, "I thought I was funny, you know? You guys keep telling me, 'Lighten up. Be funny.' You know? I get a little funny and now I'm being psychoanalyzed."

Another reporter then said he'd asked people in the crowd on the way out and some thought she was referring to President Bush. Others thought she was referring to former President Bill Clinton.

"Oh come on," she said, looking a little peeved. "I don't think anybody in there thought that."

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures