Hillary Clinton has tried to claim credit for everything politically popular that happened during her husband’s administration, and has even attempted to create a few that never happened at all. Most of these arguments have resulted in repudiation, as when Lord Trimble scornfully dismissed her supposed contribution to the Northern Ireland peace talks as “cheerleading”. Today, the Boston Globe finds more cheerleading than leadership on S-CHIP, which Hillary had claimed as her initiative (via Memeorandum):
Hillary Clinton, who has frequently described herself on the campaign trail as playing a pivotal role in forging a children’s health insurance plan, had little to do with crafting the landmark legislation or ushering it through Congress, according to several lawmakers, staffers, and healthcare advocates involved in the issue.
In campaign speeches, Clinton describes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, as an initiative “I helped to start.” Addressing Iowa voters in November, Clinton said, “in 1997, I joined forces with members of Congress and we passed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.” Clinton regularly cites the number of children in each state who are covered by the program, and mothers of sick children have appeared at Clinton campaign rallies to thank her.
But the Clinton White House, while supportive of the idea of expanding children’s health, fought the first SCHIP effort, spearheaded by Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, because of fears that it would derail a bigger budget bill. And several current and former lawmakers and staff said Hillary Clinton had no role in helping to write the congressional legislation, which grew out of a similar program approved in Massachusetts in 1996.
“The White House wasn’t for it. We really roughed them up” in trying to get it approved over the Clinton administration’s objections, Hatch said in an interview. “She may have done some advocacy [privately] over at the White House, but I’m not aware of it.”
Anyone see a resemblance between Hillary Clinton and Al Gore? At least Gore had some threadbare argument for his claim to have “helped create the Internet”, having supported initiatives intending to open it to commercial expansion. In this case, Hillary wants to take credit for an initiative that her husband’s administration actively opposed. Later, the White House supported another version, but they didn’t create it or put much energy into pushing it to approval; it was almost entirely a Congressional effort, and a bipartisan one at that.
That isn’t exaggeration or credit by marriage. It’s an outright lie. Even Ted Kennedy refused to back her on this, telling the Globe that “Facts are stubborn things. I think we ought to stick with the facts.” Henry Waxman, who was involved in the effort, concurs later in the article, saying that the issue “did not originate at the White House.”
She won’t win many friends in the current Congress with this claim, either. The ersatz Mother of S-CHIP couldn’t be bothered to cast a vote on its extension this year when the Senate wrestled with funding and expansion issues. Hillary, like Obama and the rest of the Senatorial presidential candidates, remained on the campaign trail instead.