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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Another Hillary Misspeak

When it rains, it pours. Hillary's out there spouting another story on the campaign trail that turns out not to be true. According to Time Magazine, one of her major stump speeches about a uninsured pregnant woman who dies because she doesn't have health care ISN'T TRUE!!

From Time's Karen Tumulty:

"I've heard Hillary Clinton tell the story many times in speeches, and it rarely fails to bring a horrified gasp from the crowd: An uninsured and pregnant Ohio woman, working for minimum wage at a pizza parlor, is turned away from a hospital because she can't come up with $100. The baby dies, and so does the woman. Clinton talks about how this woman haunts her, and how stories like this show the moral imperative--and the urgency--of fixing a badly broken health care system. (You can see a video here.)

Except, it turns out, it didn't happen--at least, apparently, not the way Clinton said it did. There was indeed a tragedy last August in Athens, Ohio, in which a woman, Trina Bachtel, gave birth to a stillborn baby and subsequently died herself. But the New York Times reports this morning that the hospital involved says Bachtel had coverage,and received treatment. And here's the remarkable part, given how important this story has become to the overall narrative of the Clinton candidacy:

Linda M. Weiss, a spokeswoman for the not-for-profit hospital, said the Clinton campaign had never contacted the hospital to check the accuracy of the story, which Mrs. Clinton had first heard from a Meigs County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputy in late February.

A Clinton spokesman, Mo Elleithee, said candidates would frequently retell stories relayed to them, vetting them when possible. 'In this case, we did try but were not able to fully vet it,' Mr. Elleithee said. 'If the hospital claims it did not happen that way, we respect that.'

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